Belgian retail may feel like Holland. It isn’t. We know how to work the differences.
What have you done in Belgium?
Worked there in almost all of our retail sectors. In supermarkets, department stores, fashion chains, DIY chains, car dealerships, private label as well as brand manufacturers.
Do you speak the languages?
Yes. Flemish is a sister language to our native Dutch. Our French is enough to get by, and German is fluent. And that’s how we speak all of the languages of Belgium
How far along the trend of retail-development is Belgium?
Very far. The density of hypermarkets in this small country is the highest in the world. Their supermarket chains are sophisticated and you will find most international retail brands here.
What’s the special challenge for international retailers in Belgium?
The language divide. That has its repercussions not only on the number of languages that you have to put on the backs, the two communities have distinct cultural differences. For people from other continents, Belgium may look a lot like its neighbor Holland. But it is not; the society, and therefore the retail infrastructure is decidedly different. We know how to work in this divided country.
What company would you still like to work for again in this country?
Delhaize. Great company, with even greater potential.