Gema Boiza. Journalist. @GemaBoiza
The Dutch company recently opened its first store in Spain, on Fuencarral Street in Madrid. The chain, which sells a broad range of products— from food and utensils to fashion—operates under its own brand and is looking to strengthen its presence in Spain with additional stores, in Madrid and Barcelona. Hema CEO Ronal Van Zetten also shared with Wiki Spanish Food the company's plans this year to branch out into the UK.The effects of the financial crisis in Spain have not thwarted Hema's plans here.
-Why has Hema decided to open a store in Spain, which is still affected by the financial crisis?
There are signs that the Spanish economy is recovering, and at Hema we believe now is the time to make our move there.
-What is Hema's objective during its first year in Spain?
Having analyzed the Spanish market, we're certain that our approach, products and prices are attractive for Spanish consumers. Our goal is to continue to grow in Europe.
Accordingly, we continue to open stores in "new" countries and in those where we already operate with up-to-date, dynamic shop formats.
-Are you planning to open more Hema stores in Spain this year or in the future?
We are currently implementing a growth plan for Spain, and we expect the store in Madrid to be well received in view of our future plans.
-What Spanish cities are of interest for the company?
Logically, we want to open as many stores as possible in Spain; however, that depends on many factors. In addition to Madrid, we are also thinking about opening in Barcelona.
-How many jobs has Hema created with its first store?
There is a staff of 15 at the Fuencarral location.
-How does Hema view the Spanish market and what is its outlook for consumer spending?
We have looked closely at Spanish consumer needs for everyday items, and we believe our products will meet those needs while making Spaniards' daily lives easier and more fun.In Spain, we also remain loyal to our strategy of offering especially simple products, which are also good quality, attractively priced and have an eye-catching design. We are certain that Hema's optimistic message will be well received, wherever it goes.
-Would Hema's plans in Spain change if the government raises VAT?
The situation is the same in all countries where we operate, not just in Spain. We will continue with our plans to expand, focusing on sound growth.
-What percentage of your product selection is food?
Hema offers a wide range of products in three categories: food, utensils, and fashion, all of which are equally important. We adapt our product offer to our customers' needs. We sell packaged foods as opposed to fresh foods in Spain: chocolate, coffee, tea, potato chips, cookies and candy.
-Are you planning to expand your portfolio of food products? If so, what sort of items will you include?
First we will analyze Spanish consumer preferences, and then we will make adjustments to adapt our range of products as much as possible to our customers' needs.
-Is the company planning to expand into other countries? If so, which ones?
At Hema, we are committed to internationalization and we are always looking for growth opportunities, in countries where we already operate as well as in new markets. At the beginning of this year, Hema announced that it would open stores in the UK this summer.
-What is Hema's price policy?
At our store in Madrid, we aim to offer a product that is good quality, has an eye-catching design, and is affordable. Our growth, both in recent years and our expectations going forward, allows us to purchase products in better conditions and, therefore, offer fair prices to our customers.