Distribution Networks in Belgium

Overview by Globlatrade.net:

Types of Outlet

Hypermarkets, supermarkets and mini-markets
Located on the outskirts of towns. They sell food and non-food products. Mini-markets are smaller and located in town
Colruyt, Delhaize, GB Carrefour,
Department stores
Located in the town center on several floors. They have various specialized departments.
Specialized hypermarkets
Hypermarkets specialized in one family of products.
Vanden borre (in French or Flamish), FNAC (in French), Casa, Waterstone's
Hard discount
Mainly for food. They sell products of the distributor's own brand or no brand at all. People prefer them for their discount prices.
Aldi, Lidl
Small shops
Specialized local shops: grocey's, butcher's etc.
Cash and carry
Hypermarkets reserved for professionals.

Evolution of the Retail Sector

Growth and Regulation
There is stiff competition within the Belgian market. This is due to the fact that Belgium is amazingly open to foreign trade. Added to a sophisticated system of distribution, it turns Belgium into a test market, where many foreign companies launch new products.
The main geographic zones of the country are Brussels, Antwerp and Liege.


Despite a noteworthy slowdown of the local economy at the end of the year 2009, retailing continued to demonstrate modest but still positive current value terms growth at a rate slightly higher than inflation. In store-based retailing, the number of outlets continues to decline due to a natural cannibalization of still dominant small independent shops located in towns by more profitable large stores – hence the ongoing increase in selling space. Large retail groups gain ground through expansion in the number of outlets, the assortment of products they carry, and also in their private label offerings.

Market Shares
The distribution of foodstuff is characterized by a high level of concentration (a few chains with many selling points especially for Delhaize and less importantly for Colruyt), and by a strong development of the co-operation among the distributors.
The distribution of other consumer goods, on the contrary, is better carried out through specialized traditional retailers, so much that in recent years chains of branches, often auto-serviced, with diversified products have appeared on the market.
It is also characterized by the increasing part of the "non food" distribution in hypermarkets and, in a lesser way, of department stores (Inno).
The pride for Belgian distributors is the GB group which manages a union of distribution companies, grouped around four sectors: super and hypermarkets together with CARREFOUR, do-it-yourself, fast foods, specialized distribution.

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