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Netherlands: Action store engine running at full speed: opening one every other day

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

Discount Non-food Retail Chain Action (owned by the 3iGroup), increasingly chooses locations just outside the inner cities, in the districts and neighbourhoods of larger and smaller cities. The number has passed 2,263 stores in Europe since January 1, of which 407 are located in the Netherlands. Action is busy expanding the number of stores at a rapid pace. In the press release for 2022 published today, she reports that she has added 280 new stores, which is more than in 2021. In that year, 267 more were added. "In 42 European cities there are new stores. In March we open our first store in the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava. In larger cities where we already had stores, such as Paris, Vienna, Warsaw and Prague, we expanded our presence," Hajir Hajji said to reflect on the local employment that Action creates. "With our relevant formula also come new jobs and new liveliness. Action also has a social function in the middle of the neighbourhoods from Lyon to Krakow and from Dordrecht to soon also in Bratislava."

Action drives increase in revenues to 8.9 billion euros

The expanding store numbers led to an increase in revenues to 8.9 billion euros (+30 percent). But a change in purchasing behaviour due to high inflation and the energy crisis also contributed to this. For example, people started looking for affordable alternatives to heating such as fleece blankets and thick sweaters. "In a year when we saw purchasing power decrease and prices rise, our customers appreciate the composition of our range, the quality, low prices and atmosphere in the store," Hajir Hajji explains the growth. "We saw loyal customers back in the store more often, also because they get much more value for their money for daily groceries such as detergent, toilet paper and household items."

"We saw loyal customers back in the store more often, because they get much more value for their money for their daily groceries with us", Hajir Hajji, CEO Action.

When looking only at stores that had been open for more than a year, sales went up by more than 18 percent. Owner 3i reports today in a press release for quarter three of the broken fiscal year 2022/2023 that Action's EBITDA (income before interest, taxes, depreciation on assets and amortization of loans and goodwill) increased by 46 percent to 1.2 billion euros compared to 2021. Simon Borrows, CEO of 3i group, reports that Action in Europe has 'significant roll-out potential' and that he expects another 'strong year'.

The goal of Action is to remain the cheapest

Hajji warned in March last year that Action would not escape price increases. She emphasized at the time that it remained mainly a matter for the chain to remain the cheapest. 'That's what we pay close attention to.' According to Action, it is impossible to say to what extent price increases have increased turnover over the past year, since a large part of the range is constantly changing and is therefore only in stores for a limited time.

Owner 3i reports in its Q3 press release that Action's supply chain has performed effectively throughout the year. "Despite global logistical challenges, availability improved across the entire store base."

The Netherlands performs just like the rest of the stores in Europe

About the Dutch market, which is served by 407 stores, the chain, with its headquarters in Zwaagdijk in North Holland, does not give specific figures. According to Action, the picture is more or less the same in all markets.

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