Cactus, the underdog market leader with 61 supermarkets in Luxembourg, continues to expand. Just like runner-up Delhaize, Cactus redirects its focus on convenience stores, thanks to franchise concept Shoppi.
The smallest among the largest
Paradoxically, the largest food retailer in Luxembourg is also the smallest player: in a market populated by big companies such as Delhaize, Auchan and Monoprix, the family business is the odd one out. Managing Director Laurent Schonckert is well aware of this; hence the Luxembourg retailer continues to expand courageously but cautiously.
Today, Cactus has 61 stores in 59 locations, spread over four different formats: from hypermarkets to small convenience stores under the name Shoppi. This way, they are competing against all food retailers in the country. However, the local player has unique assets, explains Schonckert to the newspaper Paperjam.
Anchored to real estate
The retailer benefits from their strong local anchoring, firstly regarding location: Cactus does not normally rent premises but buys them. Meanwhile, the group has a solid real estate portfolio with many retail parks and shopping galleries, where non-food retailers enrich the range of products and services. This forces the company to be very selective, according to Schonckert, which enabled Cactus to escape 'overly saturated' new real estate projects and, on the other hand, establish itself in residential areas - something that certainly bears fruit during corona times.
Apart from the location, the range also responds to the group's local anchoring: Cactus produces their own products through their butchers, restaurants and confectioners. The retailer also works with "very small producers" and has been offering organic products for 25 years. Also new is a collaboration with Letzshop, an online platform for Luxembourg traders. During the wine fair, the chain put a number of references online for the first time and now they want more of that. The collaboration with EatHappy, who makes sushi on-site in selected stores, is also expanding.
Convenience stores even more important
The Shoppi convenience concept, in particular, will become more important to the positioning of the group in the future. Just as rival Delhaize, who ranks second in Luxembourg, Cactus has noticed that proximity stores are becoming real shopping destinations. As of next year, six Shoppi petrol stores will therefore be opened. Cactus Shoppi also recently introduced new branding, at which the Cactus brand will be more prominent in the 33 franchise branches. "We are getting more and more franchise requests," says Schonckert, although the locations they had in mind are now affected by teleworking. "But there will be a post-covid period, I have full confidence in it".
That confidence also translates into expansion: while the Ingeldorf site will be fully renovated next year, construction starts on two completely new premises. By the beginning of 2023, a 3000 m² supermarket will be set up in Roodt-sur-Syre. This is the first store in the east of the country, and it will be surrounded by another half a dozen stores. By early 2024 latest, the group's third-largest store (7500 m²) will open in Esch/Lallange, along with a nursery, a fitness centre, twenty-something other stores and about sixty flats.