Dutch cut-price retail chain Action is opening its first shops in the Czech Republic on Thursday, the eighth country where the group is active, and Italy is set to follow next year.
‘We will add a further five countries at least, including Italy,’ chief executive Sander van der Laan told news website Nu.nl in an interview. ‘New countries always border on countries where we are already active.’
Action, founded in Enkhuizen, Noord-Holland in 1993, now has some 1,600 shops in Europe and booked operating profit of €500m last year.
The company is also looking into some form of online expansion, Van der Laan told Nu.nl. ‘Every consumer is now online,’ he said. ‘Coronavirus made that process faster and expanded the target group.’
The current website is for window-shopping only and customers have to go to an actual store to buy products. ‘Up to now we have not had to sell goods online,’ Van der Laan said. ‘It is very difficult to get a product which costs €1.50 without VAT to a customer at home without making a loss.’
Five shops in France and in Antwerp are now experimenting with ‘click and collect’ schemes, which were started when the stores were closed because of the coronavirus lockdowns.