The supermarket chain Louis Delhaize is to close seven of its low-cost Match subsidiaries and nine Smatch stores, with the loss of 210 jobs, the company announced.
Louis Delhaize Group is not related to the larger, more international Delhaize chain of supermarkets, now paired with the Dutch Ahold, owners of the Albert Heijn brand. The two companies were related until 1875, when two sons of the founder Jacques Delhaize joined together, while third son Louis went his own way.
The group now owns Cora hypermarkets, Match cut-price supermarkets and the smaller Smatch stores. Last year the company recorded a loss of 22 million euros, continuing the poor results recorded since 2013. The Match and Smatch chain counts 111 stores in Belgium, employing a total of 2,500 staff. Of the jobs affected by the new restructuring, 64 will be in central services and 146 in the shops themselves. The company said it would avoid forced redundancies as far as possible.
The Match stores affected by the closures are in Dinant, Erquelinnes, Eupen, Jodoigne, Moustier-sur-Sambre, Nivelles and Spa. The Smatch stores to close are in Ertvelde, Deinze, Ingelmunster, Jupille, Koksijde, Ougrée, Merchtem, Waarschoot and Zomergem.
Alongside the closures comes an investment package of 40 million euros, which the company hopes will allow it to turn the corner in three years.
“It would be irresponsible to do nothing,” said CEO Stéphane de Rango. “In an ever more complex market, marked by a general fall in consumption and an increase in competition, courageous and ambitious measures have to be taken to guarantee the survival of both brands in the middle and long term.”
The 40 million euro investment package will go towards renovations in-store, changes to better differentiate both brands, and an emphasis on local, fresh and organic products. The company will also look into online ordering and home deliveries.