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Loek Smets, P. Smets:

"Watermelons from Morocco and Mauritania a booming business during Ramadan"

Last week, trade was still slow, but Loek Smets of P. Smets from Geleen expects that it was the calm before the storm. "With Ramadan now underway, I definitely expect an increase in demand. I'm thinking in particular of watermelons from Morocco and Mauritania that are currently arriving and are a booming business."

The first asparagus has also been on sale for a while, but according to Loek, the supply is still too limited for good sales. "We always try to participate from the beginning to the end of the season, but right now the volumes are not there and the price - 14 euros for a kilo of double A asparagus - is actually still too high."

"Furthermore, we are waiting for the Dutch strawberries. The first greenhouse goods are available already, but that's beyond our budget. Right now, we're mainly selling Spanish goods, but I'll be happy when the Dutch season kicks off," says Loek. "The import trade is going as usual. In the Italian and Spanish vegetable trade, there are few disturbances. The citrus market is a disaster. Fortunately, we do some importing there ourselves, because when I see any offers, I'm almost scared to bid and end up stuck with a lot of goods."

Is the early Easter an advantage? "If the weather is good, yes, otherwise no," the trader answers pragmatically. "If there is some sunshine, people will get in a good mood and trade will be nice. The general trend over the last five years is that Easter sales have become more important than Christmas."

A golden move, according to Loek, has been the launch of the new webshop. "Between 30 and 40% of our trade is sold through the webshop. We have set up our own photo studio for this especially. All products that are on the webshop are the products that are here. This way, we are always up-to-date. What you see, is what you get."

Smets' customers are located within a radius of about 150 kilometers around Geleen, so in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. Sales are aimed about 65% at stores, 20% towards markets, and 15% to the hospitality industry. "The fun thing is that we get a lot of webshop orders from ethnic customers in particular, who also no longer have a language barrier."

This year, the Smets brothers are running the company for the first time without father Pierre, who, after having worked in the fruit and vegetable industry for sixty years, took his leave at the end of last year. "He still comes by for a cup of coffee every day, but worrying about the business is over for him," Loek concludes.

For more information:
Loek Smets
P. Smets & Zn
Hofdwarsweg 11
6161 DE Geleen
Tel.: +31 046 47 42 381
[email protected]

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