Jumbo and Hema to join forces

Dutch grocery retailer Jumbo and the Hema chain of department stores have signed a memorandum of understanding outlining their intention to join forces in the Netherlands and Belgium. The partnership is aimed at improving the competitive position of both companies. Jumbo’s rival Albert Heijn has been left out in the cold.

Both partners expect the deal to strengthen their store networks. Jumbo will take over between 20 and 25 Hema stores and will start selling Hema products in all of its stores. The Jumbo-Hema partnership is based on the idea that the two retailers complement one another well. More details are due to be finalized by the end of this year.

Notably, at the start of this year Hema expressed plans to partner up with another Dutch grocery chain, Albert Heijn (AH). The plan was to open two pilot stores together, but that never came to fruition. No official reason was given, but according to Dutch press agency ANP Hema only recently ended the collaborative project citing “other priorities”. The announcement of Hema’s partnership with Jumbo has apparently come as a complete surprise to AH.

Hema’s new strategy

Joining forces with a supermarket chain is a good fit with Hema’s new strategy, which is focused on boosting online sales and increasing the number of stores internationally as a way of expanding the brand in the future. Hema is already working together with grocery chain Franprix in France, for example, and just this summer it announced a collaborative partnership with Walmart in the US and Canada.

Jumbo currently operates over 650 supermarkets, seven larger ‘Foodmarkts’ and an online ordering and delivery service through its website, Jumbo.com. The grocery retailer has also launched a new convenience store concept called Jumbo City, which combines elements of its regular Jumbo stores, its Foodmarkts and the restaurant chain La Place. Hema has more than 750 stores and a range of 32,000 own-branded products and services. It is active in 11 countries.