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Too many supermarkets? Rise of small food outlets puts large stores under pressure

09:58 26/04/2023

Belgium has a record number of food outlets per person in Europe, with a Locatus study finding that the country has an average of one grocery store for every 3,000 people.

"It's a record at the European level," Locatus's Evelyne Zabus told Le Soir. “The density of the Belgian population means that everything is close to us, and this further reinforces the feeling that there are a lot of shops in Belgium.”

Locatus’s research found that although the number of larger outlets is falling across the board, the number of small businesses – mainly franchises – continues to grow.

A spokesperson for Belgian non-profit consumer organisation Test Achats told Le Soir that the commercial density was changing how Belgians were buying food.

“It is the supermarket and hypermarket model that is currently under pressure”, the spokesperson said.

Locatus business development manager Frans Smit was more blunt. “The country has too many supermarkets compared to its size,” he said.

Written by Paul Millar