A year ago, Normal, a Danish chain of discount stores already present in four countries, landed in France, where it now has more than ten stores. And it’s not over.
“Normal items. Abnormal prices. This is the slogan of the Danish store chain Normal, which landed in France in 2019 and is pursuing ambitious development.
With 11 stores established in one year in France (and eight more in October-November), the brand is making a place for itself on the discount market, playing on the borders of now well-established brands. And it’s far from over.
Branded products at knockdown prices
Normal shops offer items of everyday life at bargain prices, mainly “personal care”, presents actu.fr Marketing Head of Normal, Liselotte Kirkelund.
Hygiene products and cosmetics work alongside cleaning and food products. The particularity of the brand: Normal made in slow discount, by selling well-known products from major brands (including international or French brands) but at reduced prices.
On the shelves, you will find Gillette, L’Oréal, Ajax, Sanex, Nivea, Colgate, Oreo, Kinder… as well as unknown brands that may have been seen abroad.
In addition to an assortment of approximately 3,000 permanent products, new items are regularly offered, “more than 100 every week, at fixed low prices” all year round and “always cheap”, assures the marketing manager of the headquarters of the company, created in Denmark in 2013 by Torben Mouritsen and Bo Kristensen, retail professionals in Danish chains.
How does the brand guarantee its broken prices?
To ensure these low prices all year round, Liselotte Kirkelund explains betting on simplicity, with “low promotion costs”, just like the marketing and advertising budget. On its website, the complete brand:
Our unbeatable prices are made possible by sourcing products from suppliers throughout the European Union. All products are purchased at the best price while avoiding expensive intermediaries.
A “shopping experience”
Another particularity of Normal stores: the “shopping experience”, which is intended to be fun. Built like “a labyrinth”, the store emphasizes the idea of a “treasure hunt” through which the customer is “guided”. It’s up to you to find good deals, and in a good mood, please.
The layout of the stores has also been neat and focused on humour, where other discounters has preferred sobriety.
More than fifty additional stores within a year
Since its creation seven years ago, the brand now has more than 240 stores in Europe, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands.
In France, it began to set up in 2019 in Thiais (Val-de-Marne), Rosny-sous-Bois (Seine-Saint-Denis) and in Paris, passage du Havre. Normal’s marketing manager explains :
“Being able to open up in France required a long preparation process, but in 2019 we were ready and we are now organized in France so that we can deploy very quickly.”
Since then, Lille, Calais, Le Havre, Marseille, Lyon … have joined the network. And the Danish channel does not intend to stop there. Other openings are planned during the year.
If the head of marketing confirms a “development in France as quickly as possible”, we will not know anything about the details, so as not to compromise their “localization strategy”. The only information: more than fifty stores to come in one year.
“In the next 12 months, we hope to open more than 50 Normal stores in France. An essential criterion will be the availability of the right locations.”
The list of all Normal stores in France is available on the brand’s website .
The next known openings in France
October 29, in Argenteuil, Côté Seine, 50, avenue du Maréchal Foch.
October 30 at Roissy-en-France, Aéroville, 30 rue des Buissons.
November 12 in Besançon, Chateaufarine, route de Dôle.
November 13 at Villeneuve-la-Garenne, Qwartz, 4 boulevard Gallieni.
A serious competitor for Action?
“Good locations” is also what the Dutch retailer Action, one of Normal’s competitors, is looking for. With more than 544 stores located in France since its arrival in France in 2012, Action has made a place for itself in the hearts and wallets of consumers.
In 2019, the group’s turnover was 5.1 billion euros, indicates Laura Carbone, France’s marketing and communication manager.
“France is the group’s main market. The size of the territory allows us a rapid expansion to be closer to our customers, with an opening rate of 80-90 stores per year in France.”
With an assortment of 6,000 references, spread over 14 different product categories, Action focuses in particular on the price of products.
“We are constantly looking to offer the best price. Among our assortment, we offer more than 1500 products whose price is less than 1 euro. In addition, the average price of a product at Action is 2 euros.”
With more than 400 major brands, of which a third of the products can be found all year round, and “ 150 to 200 new products every week ”, Action is ahead of Normal – even though neither of the two brands admits be a direct competitor.
At Normal, we do not consider traditional discounters as such and we do not comment on “specific competitors”. Same story at Action, for whom competition is also played with “many distributors (drugstores, food supermarkets, paints, tools, DIY creative hobbies)”.
“The market is large enough for other brands to find their place.”
At Lidl, we are watching the arrival of Normal “with interest”
On the side of Lidl, we want to be serene. The brand recalls that it has left hard-discount for 8 years now to move upmarket, despite an image of a discounter that still sticks to its skin, notes Michel Biero, executive director of purchases and marketing Lidl France
“We have had this image for over 20 years, it will take time for our change of image to take root in the mind of the consumer, that’s obvious. It is not in 7 or 8 years that we can change everything! “
However, with 1,550 supermarkets in France and 11,200 supermarkets in 31 European countries and the United States, Lidl is still looking at the arrival of Normal in France “with interest”, because “this is part of the search for a good deal by consumers. “
“Competition makes us grow,” said the spokesperson, who welcomes “these new models with curiosity”. Because in the end, whatever we offer them, it is the consumers who will have the last word.