The question is, what can have induced Ed Hamming, the boss of Vendex, to put together such a large transnational structure. It will not be an easy task to blend together concepts that differ as much as those of Praxis and Brico. Vendex has already had to learn this the hard way in Belgium, where the introduction of the Hema concept has gone thoroughly wrong. Surely Vendex will not make the same mistake again.
Along with Brico, Vendex also acquired the Obi stores in France and the AKI outlets in Spain and Portugal. You might think that this showed Vendex was wanting to become a real European participant, but no: both are promptly sold on to Leroy Merlin.
An increasing amount of concentration can be discerned in the south of Belgium. This is a part of the country that is by tradition powerfully oriented towards France. Consequently it is from the starting-point of Walloon country that the Castorama, Cora and Leroy Merlin outlets have always developed. Bricorama’s integration of the Wickes stores has apparently not been quite so successful as expected, so it is bringing its Belgian and Dutch stores as franchisees into the Dutch Intergamma Group. This in turn, a company that was previously represented only in the northern part of Belgium, is now at a stroke gaining access to quite a few outlets in the south. But who is even slightly acquainted with Gamma in this Walloon-dominated part of the country?