Casino is expanding its city-centre supermarket concept Monoprix to Belgium. The French retail group plans to open its first shop – through a franchisee – in Waterloo, as a spearhead of its European expansion ambitions.
Monoprix’ first Belgian branch will open in a vacant building previously occupied by A.S. Adventure. Masterfranchiser Transversale obtained a location permit from the municipality near Brussels last month, Belgian newspapers De Tijd and L’Echo report. An exact opening date is not yet known.
Monoprix works with different concepts for each need: the eponymous chain is the go-to for city-centre supermarkets, monop’ is a chain of small convenience stores and Naturalia is the one for organic shops. The retailer has some 800 shops with combined sales of more than five billion euros. The Monoprix stores have a strong focus on fresh foods and convenience and a leading role for private labels. The chain is also strong in non-food categories such as beauty/care, textiles and decoration. The retailer is not a price fighter.
Parent company Casino is struggling under its debts: the company was recently only narrowly saved from bankruptcy when Czech investor Daniel Kretinsky reached an agreement with major creditors. Despite its problems, the group has major ambitions for Monoprix. According to French business magazine Challenges, Casino wants to invest 700 million euros in opening eighty franchise shops, including in Belgium.
Three years ago, Monoprix already announced that it wanted to double its turnover to ten billion euros within ten years, by expanding its shop formula internationally to Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Scandinavia and Spain in cooperation with franchise partners. Since then, however, things have remained rather quiet. An earlier attempt by Casino to enter the Belgian market with its convenience chain Franprix was unsuccessful.