Dutch drugstore chain Kruidvat, part of the Hong Kong-based A.S. Watson Group, aims to reach the milestone of 300 Belgian shops early next year. The retailer sees particular growth potential in Wallonia and in Brussels, where a new shop recently opened in a prime location.
On Tuesday, Kruidvat opened a new shop on Boulevard Anspach, in the centre of Brussels, its the fifteenth shop in the Belgian capital. With 106 sqm of retail space, it is a small building by the chain’s standards, yet it has comfortable wide corridors and large windows that let in plenty of natural light. The trump card is its prime location: “The neighbourhood has been upgraded in recent years and it is now in a pedestrian zone, which means we will also be able to serve many tourists”, district manager Carmen Goossens said.
Over the past decade, Kruidvat grew from 184 to 291 shops in Belgium. For a Dutch chain, it was obvious to focus on the Dutch-speaking North of Belgium in the earlier days of its expansion – leaving the French-speaking South still with a lot of margin for expansion. In Wallonia, where Kruidvat currently has 56 shops, two more new locations will open before the end of the year: in Jodoigne and Liège. All Belgian shops are served from the new distribution centre in Breda.
For now, Kruidvat is not experiencing any difficulties in finding employees for those new shops. This is partly due to a simplified recruitment procedure: for a job as a shop assistant, candidates do not need to send a CV, the retailer sees more benefit in an informal interview. “We get to know someone’s qualities and motivations much better by engaging in conversation than reading off a sheet of paper. Everyone is welcome with us and that makes our shops reflect society. Inclusion is as it should be according to us and we are rightly proud of that”, Kruidvat Belgium general manager Bert Verhoef explains.