Belgian retailer Louis Delhaize returned to sales growth in 2020. CEO Ludovic Holinier says the results are the first fruits of his company’s strategic plan, launched at the end of 2019.
“We make online profitable”
The group, which makes three-quarters of its sales in France, saw its sales grow by 0.6 % to 7.28 billion euros. Excluding fuel and catering, this growth was even 5.1 %, the CEO told Belgian newspaper L’Echo. Online sales, in particular, did very well and were 46 % higher than the year before.
According to Holinier, his e-commerce is profitable thanks to the organisation from the physical stores. “We have deliberately chosen to organise our fulfilment in-store, primarily to be able to offer the widest possible range. That is why we did not invest in large automated warehouses. The same teams serve the customers in the stores and on the internet. This setup allows us to generate profit on the digital channels.”
In Belgium, the restructuring of Match and Smatch stores (which saw 17 stores closed and 210 jobs eliminated) has enabled the chain to grow again and become profitable. Nevertheless, they still have a lot of work in terms of the concept and positioning of the brands, says Holinier. “For Cora, 2020 has allowed us to verify the relevance of our decentralised and local model. All our stores have grown. And Delitraiteur (41 stores) is also growing. And we are planning three to four openings per year in the coming years.”