The history of Action

geschiedenis-actionThe Action history started in 1993, when the very first store was founded in Enkhuizen, the Netherlands. The store measured no more than sixty square metres and had a garage box for a storeroom. From the very beginning, the assortment is favorably priced and cost-consciousness has always come naturally – it stems from a deep-rooted no-nonsense mentality. Now, 23 years later, it evolved into a successful international discount Retailer with more than 1100 stores in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Austria and Poland.

Growth history

The ambition to grow and expand has been present from the very beginning. After the first store in Enkhuizen, others soon followed. At the end of 1994 Action owned eight stores – in 2002, there were 94. However, the biggest expansion was yet to come. When the new head office and distribution centre were opened in Zwaagdijk-Oost in 2003, Action was ready to take on international expansion.

Supermarket concept

In 2004, the first store with a supermarket concept opened with shopping carts and a checkout counter with a conveyor belt. From that moment on, new stores boast a floor space of at least 800 m2. The existing stores are also refurbished in accordance with this concept.

International expansion

The opening of a store in Belgium in 2005 was Action’s first endeavor across the border. The number of stores continued to increase, although it took a while before the Belgian customers also embraced the Action format. In 2009 and 2012, Germany and France followed. In order to facilitate this growth, the distribution centre was expanded to a total capacity of 100,000 m2 in 2007 and 2010. Every day, trucks drove back and forth to constantly supply the stores with an Action assortment that changed and never ceased to surprise.


In September 2011 Action was taken over by investor 3i, and at that time was already much larger than anyone had ever thought possible. Because of the takeover, Action had even more potential for explosive domestic and international growth. A potential that Action truly fulfills!

Expansion Distribution Center

In June 2014, Action opened a new distribution center in Echt, in the Dutch province of Limburg, that already expanded at the beginning of 2015 to comprise a total floor space of 73,000 m².  From Echt, more than 1000 employees supply all stores in the south of the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and France – but it could no longer cope with the demand. In March 2016, Action started to operate a 3rd distribution centre in Moissy-Cramayel, south of Paris. In order to support our recent expansions, we started construction of a new distribution centre in Biblis, in southern Germany, in September of last year. In spring 2017 it will be put into operation. A fifth distribution centre is being constructed near Toulouse in France. This will come on-line in the fall of 2017.


Action added 197 stores and one new DC in 2016, and created about 6000 new jobs. In October we held celebrations for the opening of our 750th store in total, our 200th store in France and our 11th store in Germany. We’re now well over 1100 stores in total. But Action’s desire is to expand more and grow even harder in 2017. As of now nearly 40,000 international employees are contributing the Action’s current success.

Are you inspired by Action’s history and would you like to know more about Action as an employer? Click here!