March 2021 Netherlands retail news has been dominated by shopping-by-appointment, the first easing of coronavirus restrictions in nearly 3 months. Find out about more about it and other Dutch store news…
At the start of March the Dutch government allowed non-essential stores in the Netherlands to reopen within strict guidelines. Retailers which had been closed since mid-December 2020 due to coronavirus restrictions could reopen IF they implemented a strict shopping-by-appointment system. No more than two shoppers were allowed per floor at a time and customers had to register for a time slot at least 4 hours in advance. A time slot could not be less than 10 minutes.
Many chain retailers balked at the offer as being too restrictive. In fact, so many opted to remain closed that it forced the government to come up with more realistic guidelines. The new rules allow for 1 shopper per every 25 square meters, up to a maximum of 50 customers in a store at one time. The shopping appointments must still be made at least 4 hours in advance and shoppers must still comply with the 1.5 meter distance rule and wear a facemask.
The revised shopping-by-appointment guidelines has resulted in many closed retailers reopening their doors. Dutch department store chain De Bijenkorf and home furnishings retailer IKEA were among them. Both are offering shopping-by-appointment as of Tuesday 16th March.
MALL OF THE NETHERLANDS OPENING MARCH 18th
The Mall of the Netherlands, the largest enclosed shopping center in the country, will go ahead with its planned official launch on Thursday 18th March. Although it won’t be the ‘grand’ opening owner Westfield had originally envisioned due to the current coronavirus situation, the company and retail tenants decided to keep the date rather than move it again.
The mall’s grand opening was first planned for Spring 2020 but had to be rescheduled Fall 2020 due to the pandemic. But with new government restrictions introduced in October, the date had to be shifted once again, this time to March 2021 with the hope the situation would be substantially better.
This, of course, was not to be. In fact, things had gotten worse especially for non-essential retailers which were forced to shut their doors in December 2020. Now that those retailers are allowed to open by offering shopping-by-appointment, the major stakeholders (Westfield and retail tenants) agreed to keep the official mall opening date even if it means limited accompanying fanfare.
SCOTCH & SODA OPENING MORE STORES
Dutch fashion brand Scotch & Soda is adding more stores both within the Netherlands and abroad. On Tuesday 16th March the brand opened a new door in Utrecht, which is followed on Thursday 18th March with the opening of their store in the Mall of the Netherlands. Later in March, the largest Scotch & Soda store will open in Den Bosch.
DUTCH FOOTWEAR BRAND MERCER
Dutch footwear brand Mercer opened its first retail store in early March. The Amsterdam shop houses the premium collection by designer Pim Dresen. Shoes are made predominantly from grape and pineapple leather.
BICYCLE SALES IN NETHERLANDS SKYROCKET
According to the RAI Association, bicycle sales in 2020 were up by 30% to a record €1.6 billion, nearly double what they were in 2010. The coronavirus situation was a major factor in the increase. Many people feared taking public transportation and with international travel banned, more holidays were spent doing day trips close to home. Sales of electric bikes which have a much higher average ticket price than standard bicycles were up 30% year-on-year to 547,000 units.