War in Brussels

By: trademagazin Date: 2008. 10. 05. 08:00

There is a trade war going on in Belgium, fought with methods and tricks just as ruthless as those used in real wars. As my luggage has been lost, I had to visit a Carrefour store first, in order to buy some underwear for the next day. The quality of the private label shirt I have bought (naturally without any logo) for EUR 20 was not by any means inferior and I am certain it is going to last quite a long time. The first thing we saw upon entering the store was the coupon dispenser in the photo, with dozens of different coupons. Customers holding such coupons are entitled to substantial discounts from the price of certain brands. For the first time in my life, I also had a go using a self-service cash register. Though there was a long line in front of traditional cash registers, I was the only one using the self-service. It turned out to be quite simple, like using an ATM. I liked the promotional idea seen in a Delhaize supermarket, which you can see in the photo. A collection of new products is displayed in the empty space near the entrance. Customers can put these in their shopping carts even before entering the store. The Carrefour hyper market I visited is located underneath the Belgian HQ of the chain. I have found the Granini fruit juice advertised in the leaflet, but there was no sign of a promotional price. Of course, suppliers can complain in such cases, but they might easily find their products being discontinued, if they do so. As a result of the chaos in Carrefour, its market share has been shrinking constantly for years. Carrefour is definitely one of the losers of the trade war in Belgium. Delhaize and Colruyt on the other hand have been fighting successfully. They have succeeded in protecting their market share from German discount stores and are also gradually luring customers away from Carrefour. As you can see from the photo, Colruyt is a puritan discount store. Their promotional strategy is incredible. Whenever they are informed of any product selling at a lower price than theirs, they modify their price accordingly and send their supplier an invoice about the difference. If they see any product listed by them in any of their competitors’ stores, the product is discontinued immediately.

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