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Netherlands: Action is growing very fast in the corona crisis with US$1.1 Bn

Discount Variety Retail Chain Action (owned by PE firm 3i Group) who sees it as a cheap Chinese rubbish under cheap fluorescent lighting and grumpy cashiers is only partly right. According to the applauded annual report on the websites and, more than half of the stores now have energy-efficient LED light and 'only' 57 percent of the products come from China. And no less than 86 percent of the cotton is produced 'more sustainably'. We do not know whether this claim is sufficient to keep clubs such as GreenPeace and the Clean Clothes Campaign satisfied. Also very nice in the context of current events: in 2024 all stores must get rid of gas.

Consumers Europe wide like and want Action and its low prices products. It is clear from the figures that customers are crushing Action. Turnover increased from €5.6 billion (US$6.2Bn) in 2020 to €6.8 billion (US$7.5Bn) in 2021 (+22.7%). An average product costs two euros (US$2.2), so more than 3.4 billion items have been sold.

The growth was mainly due to the opening of new stores, especially in France (+94), Poland (+74) and Germany (+46). But turnover from existing stores, the so-called like-for-like sales, also increased by 11 percent.

Operating profit soared from €609 million (US$670Mn) to €828 million (US$911Mn). In order to know what net profit (€185 million, US$204Mn in 2020) has been made, we will have to wait until the annual report has been filed with the Chamber of Commerce, because that is kept secret in its own presentation.

In any case, the stretch does not seem to be over at Action for the time being. On the symbolic date of 20-02-2022, the two thousandth store was opened in Prague. The bargain chain also entered the Spanish market this year. In addition, the consumer is hesitant to spend money, partly due to the war in Ukraine, and that can play into the hands of a bargain chain. We wouldn't be surprised if major shareholder 3i puts a new price sticker on Action that is higher than the current €13.5 billion (US$15Bn).

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