Top 10 sectors with highest retail chain presence in the Netherlands

Consumers are often critical about it. A common complaint is that you see the same shops everywhere. But if we ask visitors during surveys what is missing, it’s usually just the well-known formats. It seemed interesting to see how bad the situation is in terms of retail chains. Is it true that there are more and more retail formats in the streets? Or is it not so bad after all?

A stable retail chain presence

I have good news for advocates of a varied shopping offer. The share of chain stores in retail sales points is almost stabilized at 37%. Thus, 36421 of the 97554 outlets are part of a retail chain.


Within the Dutch retail market, we count no less than 1,116 different formats [1]. But the ratio of chain businesses to independent businesses varies strongly according to the sector.

Sectors with the strongest / lowest
retain chain presence

Locatus classifies retail businesses in 137 sectors, ranging from supermarkets to 2nd hand clothing. 27 of these sectors consist exclusively of independent businesses, which means that they don’t have branches. They include sectors like Asian Products, Fur, Wedding Dresses, Leather Fashion, Antiques, Fishing, Boating, Coins / Stamps or Comic strips.

There are also sectors where the independent businesses are just strongly under-represented or hardly exist. When we make a top 10 of the retail sectors with the highest retail chain presence, then Fashion Warehouses are number one (such as C & A, H & M) with 96.5% of sales outlets.

Top 10 of retail sector with the highest chain presence (number of sales outlets):

1 Fashion warehouses 96,5%
2 Warehouses 96,4%
3 Textile warehouses 95,2%
4 Supermarkets 92,6%
5 DIY 91,9%
6 Pies 91,4%
7 Home furnishing warehouses 90,6%
8 Drugstores 89,1%
9 Household products 84,8%
10 Perfumery 81,0%


Unfortunately, I also have bad news for advocates of a varied shopping offer. The presence of retail chains in terms of retail surface is significantly higher. Almost 61% of the retail surface is occupied by retail chains and this percentage is still on the rise.


The top 10 of the sectors with the highest presence of retail chains differs somewhat from the top 10 based on the number of sales outlets. Home furnishing warehouses are just outside of the top 10 and the electric appliances sector (like BCC, Media Markt) is in.

Top 10 of sectors with the highest retail chain presence (retail surface):

1 Textile warehouses 97,8%
2 Supermarkets 97,4%
3 Warehouses 96,0%
4 DIY 95,5%
5 Drugstores 94,5%
6 Household products 94,0%
7 Fashion warehouses 92,7%
8 Pies 90,6%
9 Perfumery 90,4%
10 Electric appliances 88,3%


Every Wednesday around lunchtime, I tweet the proportion of retail chains in a given sector (based on the number of sales outlets). In recent weeks, the following sectors were reviewed (light blue = independent businesses, dark blue = formats):

Retail Outlet Explorer

The Retail Outlet Explorer provides you with up-to-date information about a shopping centre, a sector, or retail in the entire country. The database contains information about retail in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and, increasingly, large cities in the rest of Europe.