There was Noz, Stokomani and Action, there will soon be Wibra. The Dutch discounter, which has 220 stores in the Netherlands and around fifty in Belgium, will soon arrive in France. Precisely “in Lille”, indicates Claudine Nachtergaele, director of Wibra Belgium and responsible for deployment in France. To establish itself in France, Wibra will reproduce what makes it successful in Northern Europe. Or a huge sales space of “400 to 600 m2”, necessary to offer the entire catalog. An offer provided intended to “make daily family life more fun and easier”, according to the brand. Clothing, underwear, toys, kitchen items, cleaning items, gardening items and even decoration will take place in this XXL store.
On the price side, Wibra positions itself as a discounter, offering thousands of items at reduced prices, just like Action already does today, for example. To keep its promise, Claudine Nachtergaele indicates that the brand buys “mainly in Asia, to a lesser extent in Europe”. Concretely for the customer, many are offered around one euro, and the majority will be around five euros.
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However, you will still have to wait a while before shopping at Wibra. The people of Lille will have the privilege of inaugurating the first French store “at the end of May or even the beginning of June”, a deployment in France that the director of Wibra Belgium justifies by the geographical proximity. Indeed, the installation will be facilitated by the proximity to Belgian brands, “which will make it possible to train staff not far from Roubaix, Tourcoing and Lille by crossing the border,” she assures.
This strategy aims to “feel the French market” and “make adjustments if necessary” to meet the needs of the French, according to Claudine Nachtergaele. If the customers are there, the manager does not hide her plan to open Wibra stores throughout France. “We hope to open several stores in 2024, then arrive in Paris in the event of a positive reaction.” However, there will not be many employees, due to the low-cost strategy.
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Landing in an ultra-competitive market, Wibra does not intend to position itself as Action's direct competitor. “We complement Action because we both work very well, whether in Belgium or the Netherlands. This shows that there is room for our two brands,” confides the manager, emphasizing Wibra’s specialization in textiles.
Recently, the Toujust! brand, which had arrived in France with the ambition of competing with hard-discounting, had to close its stores, after being placed in receivership and then in liquidation. Action, for its part, reigns supreme, with nearly 5 billion euros in turnover last year and more than 800 points of sale across France. Which represents “the opening of one and a half stores per week,” assures Olivier Dauvers.
According to this mass distribution specialist, Wibra has reason to believe in its establishment. “It’s an illustration that there is a social expectation, that the market is porous. Everyone looks with envy at the success of Action.” For Olivier Dauvers, the hard-discount market is not yet completely saturated. “In France we have long underestimated the appetite for its brands because of the low quality of the articles. There is always room in certain commercial areas where no discount store is yet present.” Will Wibra manage to find a place in France and capture market share? While waiting for the opening of its first French store, the brand has already opened the French version of its website.