Delhaize announced in March this year that it wanted to find buyers for the 128 stores it operates in Belgium. Today, a buyer has already been found for 72 of those stores, 56%. In the province of Antwerp, a new operator has already been appointed for approximately half of the stores. These new operators will take over the stores next year in the period February-May.
When the new buyers were announced, the Hoeck family stood out. This entrepreneurial family currently operates four AD Delhaizes: two in Lier (Bloemmolens and Pallieter) and a further AD Delhaizes in Herselt and Itegem (Heist-op-den-Berg). The Delhaize in Sint-Katelijne-Waver will also be added early next year. The business family now first wants to sit together with the employees of Sint-Katelijne-Waver, and is therefore not providing any further explanation in the press at this time.
Limburgers in Schoten
The Delhaize in Schoten is taken over by Limburg student friends Geert Hontis and Jeroen Hermans. Geert Hontis previously operated two Carrefour Express branches in Antwerp. Today he already operates a Proxy Delhaize in Beveren. “None of the sixty employees in Schoten should fear for their job,” says Geert Hontis. “We will need all employees to continue to grow and improve our services.”
The Delhaize on the Bosuil is taken over by Fabien Lepièce, the man who now also runs the AD Delhaize in ‘s Gravenwezel (Schilde). Redouan Lamsadya, the acquirer of the Delhaize Hopland in Antwerp, is the only newcomer in the Delhaize family in the province of Antwerp.
READ ALSO: Two Limburg friends take over Delhaize Schoten: “We will need everyone to write our new story”
Delhaize in Deurne-Zuid opens on Sunday
It remains to be seen what concrete plans the new operators have for the local Delhaizes. The first changes have already been implemented in the Delhaize in Deurne-Zuid, where the couple Wim Vercammen and Kelly Vangeninden have taken over the store since November 3. “We now have two extra self-scan checkouts,” says Wim Vercammen. “And we offer more products from local suppliers, such as nuts and herbs. We also have a Bpost parcel locker, so customers can collect or return parcels that they have ordered online. And in the coming weeks we will also start our fresh charcuterie department. We will then cut and package meat in the store ourselves.”
Another big novelty are the openings on Sundays. “On Sundays, December 24 and 31, the Delhaize in Deurne-Zuid will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. From January we will be open every Sunday,” says Wim Vercammen. “Those Sunday openings are not included in the staff contract. But eight in ten employees want to voluntarily come to work on Sundays because it benefits them. For example, they will be given a fixed day off during the week, or they will receive other compensation in their timetable, which is based on their own needs.”
READ ALSO: These four Antwerp Delhaizes will be acquired
Union hopes for a quick takeover
In the meantime, ten Delhaize stores in the province of Antwerp are still waiting for a new operator, such as the one in Fruithoflaan in Berchem. “We hope that the new operator will come as soon as possible,” says Anik Van den Bosch, representative of the socialist union BBTK (Association of Employees, Technicians and Managers) in that store. However, the unions have always been against the takeover by an independent operator. “But now we are tired of waiting,” says Anik. “We live in uncertainty. We can no longer stop the takeover and now need concrete prospects. Today we are understaffed, because people with a temporary contract have not been extended, and also because some employees have started working part-time because they are continuing their training. That buyer may come to Berchem.”