Discount chain Action now also buys directly from of dozens of major brand manufacturers. It previously sold their products already, but almost always bought them off a secondary party.
197 new stores in 2016
The reason why name brand manufacturers are now willing to talk to Action is because it already has more than 840 stores in six different countries. The chain is also very much focused on expansion: currently mainly in France, Germany and Austria with 197 new stores in 2016.
“In a biweekly 75-minute meeting, we discuss proposals for new store locations. Last time, we had 22 proposals and 19 were approved with 5 minutes to spare. We can then open a new store within 6 weeks, allowing us to grow very rapidly", CEO Sander van der Laan told Dutch newspaper FD. The low prices and ever-changing product range is a formula that seems to work in every country: "We have exactly the same store and 95 % of the same products in every country and we haven't come across a country that did not like what we did."
Up until three years ago, everything was bought from Dutch wholesale companies, but it now also has a collaboration with Chinese Li & Fung. "That company helps us find suppliers, makes sure they meet our product specifications and checks them regularly. There are 60 Li & Fung employees fully dedicated to Action and we will soon send our first expat to China."
Van der Laan also briefly talked about Jef Colruyt's recent criticism of Action. The Belgian discount king felt Action sold items of inferior quality. "The guy from Colruyt also accused us of selling Axe deodorant that had not been checked, but it turns out he sold it as well."