Conflict between Douwe Egberts and Colruyt results in empty shelves

Conflict between Douwe Egberts and Colruyt results in empty racks

Coffee brand Douwe Egberts is no longer available in many Colruyt and OKay branches, as price negotiations between the two parties continue to drag on. In order to be able to live up to its lowest price guarantee, the retailer from Halle is trying to gain maximum benefit.

"Resolving the issues behind closed doors"

"Every year, Colruyt Group negotiates with its various suppliers", spokeswoman Hanne Poppe says to newspaper GVA. Usually, this also leads to a quick agreement, but sometimes it takes a bit longer and can result in empty shelves in the shops. "Of course, we understand that this situation is annoying for customers who can’t find their trusted product on our shelves.”


No details about the negotiations have been released. Both Colruyt and Douwe Egberts wish to conduct the negotiation process in a constructive manner. "It is in the interest of both to solve this behind closed doors," says retail expert Gino Van Ossel. "And afterward, to keep quiet about who finally gave in. Otherwise, they could give ideas to other brands or retail chains."


No winners

According to Van Ossel, it is important for both parties to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible, otherwise, they both risk losing out. "People who are loyal to one brand go to another store and so Colruyt loses turnover. And regular customers who go to Colruyt anyway and absolutely need coffee take another brand that they might just as well like, which they may continue to buy afterward."


Recently, Colruyt was also in disagreement with PepsiCoMars and Nestlé. The conflict with Mars dragged on for two months last year. A year earlier, dozens of Nestlé products were not available in the Colruyt stores for a long time.


Conflicts like this are certainly no exception. But Van Ossel knows that they’re not often made public. At the beginning of this month, however, Christian Verschueren, director-general of EuroCommerce, predicted that tensions between retailers and suppliers might increase. Fierce competition and shrinking margins are putting more pressure on both retailers and suppliers, he then stated in an interview with RetailDetail.