Dutch co-operatives Coop and Plus have merged to create the third-largest retail chain in the country with a network of 550 stores and a 10% market share.
Initially announced in September 2021, the merger has been ratified after being approved by members of both co-operatives and the Dutch competition authority. The move is estimated to save the two businesses around €50m (£43m) annually.
The Dutch Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) approved the merger after the two organisations agreed to sell stores in Harmelen, Hollandscheveld, Rolde, Ruurlo, Stolwijk, Terborg, Wehl, Groot-Ammers, Wekerom, Ravenstein, Uddel and on Vlieland, to address the regulator’s concerns regarding the concentration of stores in several areas.
The new co-operative will operate under the name Plus with its headquarters in Utrecht, with oversight by a supervisory board that will have representatives from both organisations. According to Plus, the new co-op is expected to generate sales of €5bn.
The merger has created a co-op with 40,000 employees that will serve more than 4.5 million customers.
Fred Bosch, general manager of Coop, will be the chief financial officer of the new co-op while Duncan Hoy, general manager at PLUS, wll be the CEO.
Duncan Hoy, general manager at Plus, said: “By joining forces, we are strengthening our position in the Dutch supermarket landscape. As the third-largest service supermarket in the Netherlands, we have the scale to serve the customer with even more clout, with a strong focus on customer satisfaction, sustainability and social impact.
As part of the merger, Coop stores will be converted to Plus stores, a process that is expected to take up to three years.
Plus was named best supermarket in the Netherlands in 2021 and has been voted ‘Most Responsible Supermarket’ in the country for seven years in a row.