The Dutch Sligro Food Group announced this morning, at the reveal of its 6-month results, it wants to cross the border into Belgium. It also has quite lofty ambitions: to become one of the three biggest food service companies.
First step: 2 stores
The first Belgian Sligro store should open its doors next year, most probably in Antwerp. Insiders have told RetailDetail that the negotiations for a 3,000 sqm location in the Scheldt city have nearly finished.
The company also has plans for a second Belgian store, but its location is currently still up in the air. The Belgian expansion will cost the company 30 million euro over the next 3 to 4 years, but Sligro expects to turn a profit in Belgium after 3 years.
It will combine self-service and delivery in Belgium and use its Dutch knowledge and infrastructure to benefit its Belgian operations. "Whenever possible, we want to use the central systems and back office we have in the Netherlands as it offers plenty of synergy options. We will open a small Belgian main office for the day-to-day business, specifically located where we will have our commercial activity", the group said in a press release.
Sligro's Dutch growth has been disappointing: in the first six months of 2015, the group's turnover grew 1.1 % to a total of 1.274 billion euro. Its main brand, Emté, had a 0.7 % like-for-like turnover growth, which was below the market average, but Sligro hopes to turn things around with a 3.0 launch. The Belgian expansion may be part of that strategy as well.