Colruyt Group starts integration and transformation of 49 Match and Smatch shops in Belgium

Colruyt Group starts integration and transformation of 49 Match and Smatch shops in Belgium

Monday, March 4, 2024

Today, Colruyt Group will start the integration and transformation of the majority Match and Smatch shops within the planned aquisition, after the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) gave early approval. Specifically, today, 49 of the 57 shops will receive the go-ahead for their conversion. Of those 49 shops, seven will close for a longer period over the next few weeks to open immediately under their final flag within Colruyt Group. 38 shops will be converted - spread over the next seven weeks - into a Comarkt or Comarché, before they receive their definite brand. An agreement was also signed for four of the seven franchised shops within the acquisition, and talks are ongoing with Retail Partners Colruyt Group for the other three independent shops. Final approval from the BCA is still awaited for five shops.

Start of conversion of majority of shops within planned acquisition

On 21 September 2023, Colruyt Group reached an agreement with Match NV and Profi NV, subsidiaries of the Louis Delhaize NV group, to acquire 28 Match and 29 Smatch shops in Belgium. This transaction is subject to the approval of the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA").

This acquisition is important for Colruyt Group because it supports the group's growth plans: among other things, it means strengthening the existing network of shop formats in Belgium. Today, on 4 March 2024, Colruyt Group will start the integration and transformation of 25 Match and 24 Smatch shops and this following the decision of the Chairman of the BCA, who gave an early go for these actions.

Comarket and Comarché: guaranteeing continuity for customer and employee

Most of these shops will be opened in the coming days and weeks as "Comarkt" (or "Comarché" in French-speaking Belgium), a Colruyt Group formula used temporarily before the shops are transformed into their final shop concept. In this way, maximum continuity is obtained for both customers and employees. Christophe Dehandschutter, responsible for the integration within the Colruyt Group management team, adds: "Comarkt may be a rather temporary shop formula, customers do benefit from all the Colruyt Group advantages. For example, the range is competitively priced and, with our loyalty formula Xtra, they will automatically enjoy all the promos and discounts of the moment. On the shop shelves, customers will also find a lot of products from our own brands Everyday and Boni: affordable quality for every day."

These shops will then be remodelled and converted to a Colruyt Group formula in the coming years, and this according to shop size, local market and customer needs.

Conversion of shops over seven weeks time*

More specifically, the conversion of the shops to Comarkt/Comarché will be spread over a period of seven weeks, and an average of seven shops per week will be converted. To achieve this, each shop will close its doors for a while and a clearance sale of the range will also be organised in advance for each of the shops. For each of these shops, customers in the region will be informed through marketing communications.

  • 38 shops will close for one week each, spread over seven weeks, before reopening under the Comarkt or Comarché brand. During that week, a minor conversion is planned: for example, Colruyt Group's cash register software will be installed. In addition, the assortment in the shop will be adjusted with, among other things, the introduction of Colruyt Group's own brands. Shop employees will receive training and remain in their shops to make the necessary preparations for reopening, with additional help from existing Colruyt Group employees, during that week.
  • Seven shops will close for an extended period to be immediately remodelled into one of Colruyt Group's brands. Employees will be temporarily housed in one of the Colruyt Group formulas nearby during this period, where they will be trained.
  • The agreement includes seven already independent shops. With four of them there is an agreement with Retail Partners Colruyt Group, and with three shops talks are ongoing with the intention of welcoming them into the Spar Colruyt Group network, or as wholesale customers.
  • Five shops are still awaiting approval from the Belgian Competition Authority on whether or not they can be acquired.

The BCA's final approval and decision regarding the remaining Match and Smatch shops is expected at the end of this month.

The employees of the current shops will remain on board and will receive a warm welcome within Colruyt Group. ​ The transaction is expected to be fully finalised by early April 2024.

*Please find attached a list of the concerned shops.

Annex_Overview Shops_FINAL.pdf 199 KB