The Hudson’s Bay department stores in the Netherlands will close at the end of the year according to communication between the corporation and shareholders. The Canadian-based retailer has 15 Holland locations.
HUDSON’S BAY SHORT LIFE IN NETHERLANDS
It has been exactly two years since the Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay made its debut in the Netherlands. From late August to early October 2017, the company was opening two department stores a week which included locations in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Leiden, Almere, Breda, Tilburg, Den Bosch, Maastricht and Zwolle. Three more locations (Amersfoort, Enschede and Haarlem) opened their doors in 2018 with the final two Hudson’s Bay department stores opening just 6 months ago in Amstelveen and Utrecht.
STRUGGLES FROM THE START
From the outset, Hudson’s Bay has struggled to gain traction in the Dutch marketplace. When the first ten doors opened, the merchandise assortment was skewed heavily toward higher end, international designer brands, many of which were already sold at the Dutch luxury department store chain, De Bijenkorf. Customers had been expecting a moderately-priced product range that would fill the void created when the Dutch V&D department store chain went out of business in January 2016.
By December 2017, Hudson’s Bay knew it would have to make adjustments if there was any hope for success. Changes to the assortment became evident throughout Spring 2018 with mid-tier Dutch labels and popular High Street brands replacing the slow-selling designer offering. The new mix included names like Scotch & Soda, Purewhite, Only and Marc O’Polo in clothing, Floris van Bommel, Van Lier and Via Vai in footwear and Essenza, Vandyck, Blond Amsterdam and PIP Studio in home.
But as the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Many customers who were alienated by Hudson’s Bay original merchandise mix have been reluctant to embrace the chain, which they see more as a foreign entity rather than a Dutch business.
CLOSING BY END OF YEAR
After two years in the marketplace and having incurred hundreds of millions of euros in losses, it comes as no surprise that Hudson’s Bay will be shutting down its stores in the Netherlands by year end. Some 1,400 employees will be out of jobs come January. About the only good news is that consumers in the Netherlands should be able to find lots of great bargains at Hudson’s Bay stores when they begin their Christmas shopping later this Fall.