Some of the retail news stories in the Netherlands during the month of February were about the end of high street brands Didi and Steps, expansion plans for District Norrebro, and financial updates from Dutch statistics bureau.
DUTCH CHAIN DIDI SHUTS DOWN
The end has come for Dutch high street retailer Didi after no buyer was found for the bankrupt chain. The women’s fashion clothing seller fell into administration last month but there was hope a buyer could be found to save its 81 stores with 350 employees. This did not happen so the stores are in liquidation mode.
February was also the month we said goodbye to Fred van Wordragen, the high-end women’s clothing boutique on the Hoogstraat in The Hague. The retailer had been a fixture on the local fashion scene for some 54 years.
NEW DISTRIKT NORREBRO STORE TO OPEN IN THE HAGUE
On a more positive note, Danish brand Distrikt Norrebro will be opening two new stores in the Netherlands next month, in The Hague and Eindhoven. It will be the second Distrikt shop for both cities and will be located in the Nieuwe Passage (The Hague) and on Marktstraat (Eindhoven). Both are due to open in mid-March.
PRODUCTS PURCHASED FROM NON-EU WEBSHOPS ARE LESS SAFE
The Dutch consumer protection agency, Consumentenbond, released results from a joint project it worked on with similar consumer agencies in the Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy and the UK. Over the course of a year, they ordered 250 products online from retailers such as Amazon, AliExpress, E-bay, Light In The Box and Wish. The products were manufactured outside the European Union. What the study found was that nearly 2/3rds (66%) of the goods did not meet EU safety standards.
The products purchased was a cross-section of consumer goods, from portable power packs and Christmas lights to jewelry, cosmetics and teeth bleaching kits. The issues experienced included electrical shocks, overheating, melting, non-operational devices, dangerous materials and missing ingredient labels.
None of the 165 products deemed unsafe should have been available for purchase in the EU and the Consumentenbond warns consumers to think twice before buying merchandise from suppliers outside the European Union.
FEBRUARY RETAIL SALES IN THE NETHERLANDS INCREASED
CBS, the Dutch national statistics bureau, reported in February that annual retail sales in the Netherlands for 2019 increased by 3.4% to €114.1 billion. The percentage increase was the same as that achieved in 2018 and ranks as the second best since the recession of 2008. The largest percentage increase, 4.2%, was achieved in 2017.
The categories which experienced the largest growth in 2019 were furniture and home decor (+7.2%) and DIY shops, kitchens and flooring (+6.7%). The categories that perfomed the worst in 2019 were footwear (-.8%) and sports and recreational goods (-.9%).