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    Blokker Belgium: buyer sees room for 250 stores

    A Blokker store's interior

    Dutch entrepreneur Dirk Bron has high hopes for his new outlet chain Mega World, which starts with 123 former Blokker stores but could double that number. The chain, starting on 7?May, would have an American feel to it and sell items at discounts of at least 50?%.

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    High hopes

    The news that an obscure entrepreneur would take over the 123?Belgian Blokker stores, raised a lot of questions about the business model and the character of Dirk Jan Bron. The businessman initially refused to talk to journalists, but now sheds some light on his plans in Dutch newspaper NRC. He appears to be quite ambitious - and that might be a huge understatement.

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    Mega World will have an American feel to it, Bron says. Customers will find a mixture of products that will have at least a 50?% discount, and the first stocks are already in place, he promises. The Dutchman shows ambition when it comes to his new chain: "I see room for 250?such stores in Belgium: that would really give us a countrywide coverage."

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    Stubborn

    The 59-year-old has specialised in selling overstock for years, buying items that produces have manufactured (or retailers have bought) in too big quantities for huge discounts. Bron has been buying these and selling them on to discount chains for years, but now wants to cut out the latter. He has had this idea for a long time, Blokker's Michiel Witteveen says: in NRC, he confirms that "Bron came to visit me every semester to check if I had anything for sale."

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    Bron's claim to fame is the founding of sports chain Aktiesport in the early 1980s, which now forms part of British JD Sports Fashion. His consequent endeavours into bargain stores all failed, but Witteveen remains highly positive about the man he sold his Belgian Blokker branch to: "He is a very stubborn entrepreneur. I value that in people."

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