Three very different stores in and around Antwerp…
The first two Belgian Albert Heijns had opened – under franchise – in
the richer northern suburbs of Antwerp, between the inner city and the
Dutch border. These stores directly went for the rich Dutch emigrants,
who were eager to find for their own products in Belgium.
The new supermarket opened in one of Antwerp’s poorer neighbourhoods,
Het Kiel, and is the first one to be self-owned. Its target audience
will be completely different: generally poorer people, many immigrants,
looking for Dutch prices rather than typically Dutch delicacies.
… and two more still to come
A fourth opening, on the square Hessenplein in Antwerp, has also already
been announced: it will be first Albert Heijn in the Antwerp city
centre and it will probably aim for a mixture of both audiences.
Moreover, a fifth opening was announced for Beveren: while still in the
vicinity of Antwerp, it marks the first opening of an Albert Heijnoutside of the province with the same name. The Beveren supermarket will
open in Warande shopping centre in “a few weeks time”, and the chain
has confirmed it has already started the recruitment of its staff.
West Flanders to follow with Roeselare…
For the avid fans to the West of Antwerp, the chain had even more good
news with the confirmation of its first location in West Flanders.
Despite earlier difficulties with permissions, Albert Heijn has
confirmed to open a supermarket in the Dino Center in Roeselare. Like
the first two Belgian Albert Heijns in Brasschaat and Stabroek, this
westernmost store will be held under franchise.
Corné Mulders, general manager of AH Belgium, is overjoyed with the
news: “these two new openings are an important step in our growth, and
people from the provinces of East and West Flanders will soon be able to
discover our mix of Belgian quality and Dutch prices.”
… and, probably, Harelbeke
Moreover, Albert Heijn has asked for permission to open another West
Flemish supermarket in Harelbeke, a city on the axis Lille – Kortrijk –
Ghent – Antwerp. The chain wants to take over the buildings of the local
Match supermarket, that closed six months ago.
In a reaction, the local council does not expect many problems. “We want
to attract more stores to the inner city“, says deputy for
entrepreneurship Martin Vandeburie. “We search, and map, potential
locations and offer them to chains like Blokker or Standaard
The deputy announced even more retail plans: “We will also renovate the
central market square – including its buildings. Surrounding the square,
we plan apartment buildings with stores on the ground floor; This way,
we can offer interested chains over 3,600 square metres of additional