While Belgium has seen some easing of overall inflation in recent months, dropping to 6.62% in February 2023, food inflation continues to remain at an elevated level, standing at 16.12% in February.
The high inflation rates experienced over the past year have had a generally negative effect on Belgium's retail sector, which saw a 8.9% decrease in total retail trade volume in the year to January 2023 – one of the highest year-on-year declines in Europe.
Recently, the Belgian supermarket sector has been beset by strikes, chiefly aimed at retailer Delhaize's plans to introduce a franchise-based operating model in the country, but also addressing concerns over wages and working conditions.
Here's an overview of the top ten supermarket retail chains in Belgium, according to their most recently-available full-year turnover. All data is supplied by Retail-Index (www.retail-index.com).
Turnover: €7.96 billion (2020)
Market leader Colruyt operates several banners and brands in Belgium, including Bio-Planet, Colruyt, Cru, DreamBaby, Dreamland, Fiets!, OKay, OKay Compact, and SPAR. Founded in 1950, Colruyt had a turnover of €7.96 billion in 2020, and currently operates 528 stores.
Read More: Colruyt Plans To Invest €20m In Fresh-Produce Chain Cru
Turnover: €5.2 billion (2020)
Part of the Ahold Delhaize group, Delhaize operates the AD Delhaize, Albert Heijn, Delhaize Supermarkt, Proxy Delhaize, and Shop&Go banners. Delhaize had an estimated turnover of €5.2 billion in 2020, and has a network of 797 stores as of this year.
Read More: Delhaize Belgium To Transition To Single Operating Model For Stores
Turnover: €4.3 billion (2022)
Carrefour's Belgian operation operates several banners, including Carrefour Express, Carrefour Hypermarket, and Carrefour Supermarket. The Belgian arm of Carrefour had a turnover of €4.3 billion in 2022, and operates an estimated 700 stores as of this year.
Read More: Carrefour Belgium Launches Wave Of Price Reductions
Turnover: €2.7 billion (2020)
Discounter Aldi boasts a growing network of stores in Belgium, with 440 outlets in its network as of 2020. The Belgian arm of Aldi Nord reported an estimated turnover of €2.7 billion in 2020.
Turnover: €1.88 billion (2020)
Lidl has had a presence in Belgium since 1995, in which time it has built up a network of 320 outlets (as of 2022). The turnover of its Belgian operation stood at €1.88 billion in 2020.
6. SPAR (Colruyt)
Turnover: €707 million (2020)
Two different groups hold the licence for the SPAR brand in Belgium. The first of these, Retail Partners Colruyt Group, operates outlets under the SPAR and EUROSPAR formats. It reported a turnover of €707 million in 2020 and operates 355 stores as of 2022.
7. Makro C&C (Metro)
Turnover: €647 million (2021)
Makro C&C is a wholesale operator that has stores under the Metro and Makro brands. The group, which has had a presence in Belgium since 1970, reported a turnover of €647 million in 2021, and operates 17 stores (as of 2022).
Turnover: €497 million (2020)
Part of France's Les Mousquetaires group, Intermarché operates under the banners Intermarché Contact and Intermarché Super. Intermarché Belgium had a turnover of €497 million in 2020, and operates 75 stores as of last year.
9. SPAR Lambrechts
Turnover: €185 million (2020)
The second SPAR franchisee operating in Belgium, SPAR Lambrechts operates under the brands SPAR and SPAR Express. SPAR Lambrechts had a turnover of €185 million in 2020, and operates an estimated 110 stores as of last year.
Turnover: €178 million (2021)
Part of the Colruyt Group, Bio-Planet offers around 6,000 organic, eco-friendly and sustainable products, in both food and non-food. It had a turnover of €178 million in 2021.
Other notable food retailers in Belgium include Dutch retailer Jumbo; Ubiway Retail, which operates stores under the brands Hello!, Hubiz, Press Shop, and Relay; Leader Price; and Louis Delhaize, which operates stores under the banners Cora, Delfood, Delitraiteur, Louis Delhaize, Match, and Smatch.
Retail-Index is a specialist supplier of management information on consumer retail markets, provided by Veraart Research Group in the Netherlands. Its mission is to supply managers with up-to-date key information on retail markets in Europe and support them in their international expansion.
The company dates back to 1964, when it started as a market research and marketing consulting company for consumer products and services. In 1989, it started publishing written reports on various retail sectors in Europe. As of 2005, it publishes its information on retailers through the online database and curated datasheet exports available on www.retail-index.com. A team of researchers manages the data to reflect upon current developments in the markets, collected from an extensive number of sources.
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© 2023 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.