Belgian retail group Colruyt expects its operating profit and net profit to increase by more than 50% during the 2023-24 financial year.
The company forecast this growth on the back of its increased market share, ability to pass on the increase in cost price to the selling price, and cost control measures implemented thereby.
However, the group highlighted that the macroeconomic context remains challenging and volatile, and that competitiveness in the Belgian retail market persists and is likely to increase.
Colruyt Group is facing increased promotional pressure in the Belgian retail market, which is an indication that competitiveness will further intensify in the weeks and months to come.
In addition, the uncertainty associated with the macroeconomic context and the high level of competitiveness in the Belgian retail market may have a significant impact on the outlook and a negative effect on the group’s results.
CEO Stefan Goethaert underlined that numerous steps were taken in the past financial year, to ensure the group’s sustainable, continued existence.
Goethaert stated that the Belgian retail landscape continues to noticeably internationalise and that, “as the only 100% Belgian retailer,” Colruyt will seek to make a maximum contribution to Belgium’s employment levels and in creating a strong, sustainable Belgian food system, in collaboration with its many local suppliers.
Additionally, Colruyt has been asking for a reduction in the wage differential with neighbouring countries. With the aim of creating a fair competitive landscape, the group is calling for a major reduction and harmonisation of the number of joint employer-employee bargaining committees in the trading area.
COO Jo Willemyns recalled that Colruyt reinforced its presence in France with the acquisition of Degrenne Distribution, a major player in the convenience store sector, in July 2023. Moreover, its retail network continued to expand in Belgium and Luxembourg, with 13 new food stores and 22 refurbishments.
Separately, Colruyt group subsidiary DATS 24 is planning to install 10,000 charging stations for electric vehicles over the next five years. These new charging points will be installed in the car parks of the Colruyt group stores, as well as in other public places where cars can park longer, such as hospital parking lots or shopping centres.