Leading Dutch retailers in trouble

Some of the leading non food retailers in the Netherlands are facing serious problems. Department store V&D (63 stores, total sales in 2013 € 619 mn, online sales 2013 € 60 mn), was close to bankruptcy this week. This could only be avoided by demanding substantial contributions from all stakeholders, including personnel, store owners, banks and owner Sun Capital Partners. Household appliances retailer Blokker (14 shopping formulas with 2.000 stores in 12 European countries, total sales in 2013 € 2,5 bn, online sales € 71 mn)) announced on Tuesday that 440 employees will be made redundant in Holland. In January this year, 2 large shoe retailers, Schoenenreus (121 stores in Holland, 20 in Belgium) and House of Shoes (27 Dutch stores) went bankrupt. Famous Dutch department store Hema (666 stores, € 1.1 bn in sales in 2013) still hasn’t managed to stop the downtrend in sales and profit, a problem that Mediamarkt/Saturn (consumer electronics) can’t seem to handle either. The decline of these traditional retailers is caused by the slow recovery of total retail sales in the Dutch market, lack of innovation, hard competition by very successful new retailers like Primark and Action and the ongoing growth of online sales through webshops. Online retailers like Bol.com and Coolblue prove to be very successful year after year. Online electronics retailer Coolblue grew sales by 45% in 2014 to a total of € 360 mn. Bol.com internet sales went up to € 680 mn in 2014. It is the driver behind the 4% increase in total food and non-food online sales in the Ahold Group, that reached € 1.3 bn in 2014.

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