Strategy news: German Tchibo closes Dutch locations / Dutch La Place expands to Belgium ~ Sounds + Food 'n' Retail

I'm following these trends as a. it's geographically relevant and I care about the topic, and b. I'm familiar with both venues.

You could characterise Tchibo as the German Starbucks, which decided not to expand into the catering-space, but instead focusses on the sale of coffee-beans (also in supermarkets), as well as offers a wide assortment of useful and trendy home-products—think coffee-machines & casual wear.

I grew up with the company and always identified it with the good smell of coffee as well as a place to always find quircky and cool stuff. After other supermarkets started doing the same thing however, particularly in Germany, this concept of offering a wide range of anythings, has to some extent become less unique.

From a Dutch magazine, Marketing Tribune, I found out that the company, which has 1,000+ venues, has been opening up 6 stand-alone and 45 in-store locations in the Netherlands over the last 3 years, only to close them in a few months again. The speculated reasons are cultural differences—Tchibo is seen as "too German" (whatever that means)—and high rental-prices, which I find credible.

As far as their preference towards in-store location goes, I think it is noteworthy and shows a lack of self-confidence, one emotion the Dutch certainly value. It did chose to partner up with some leaders though, such as Kruidvat—a pharmacy-like store—and Kijkshop—a (crappy) store which acts as a front for its internet site and has been doing badly as well—as well as some supermarkets.

In any case, too bad.

La Place
A completely different store and business model, a restaurant in fact, La Place has become famous by offering quality food at fairly low prices, in a self-help / buffet fashion, and until recently in an in-store fashion at another leader in the Netherlands, Vroom & Dreesman—a compartment store for pretty much anything—and owned by the company as well.

Again through Marketing Tribune, I found out that the company is expanding to Belgium, a culturally similar place to the Netherlands, in accordance with business-literature on where to expand best.

Where Belgium is perhaps not as similar is in the area of food-standards. The Dutch have, as far as I know, no national dish, while Belgium is sort of a mini-France as far as food (and beer) is concerned, with all the culinary arrogance that comes with it. This is reflected in the design of the new store, which will be more "chique" and offer more culinary delights, such as mussels, crêpes, etc.

Both businesses mentioned will be implementing their respective changes in October this year.

Btw. I'm still working out whether I will make this blog a "news-flash" site or rather spend more time with analysis, so don't expect this kind of news every day.


Copyright 2006| Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Blogcrowds.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.