Laurus, the Dutch retailer created late 1998 by the merger of De Boer Unigro and Vendex Foodgroep, is apparently set to slash the number of its operating fascias from eight to three. Given the relatively small size of the Dutch and Belgian markets in which Laurus operates, this seems a sensible move. Analysts feel that the large number of store formats has diluted the impact of the group as a whole.Alongside the Netherlands and Belgium, Laurus also operates in Spain under the El Arbol supermarket format and the Max Descuento cash & carry operation. It is not thought that Laurus has a sufficient warchest to fund major international expansion is likely, so a merger with a major partner, for instance Belgian heavyweight Delhaize "Le Lion" cannot be discounted.