A brief overview of retail news in the Netherlands during the month of October 2020: Dutch department store chain Hema has new owners, Vinted becomes #1 in vintage and more…
HEMA NEW OWNERS
Department store chain HEMA will be taken over by investment group Parcom with the Van Eerd family (founders of the Jumbo supermarket chain), which will keep it in Dutch hands. In June of this year, former owner Marcel Boekhoorn was forced to relinquish control of the business to major creditors due to financial problems exacerbated by the coronavirus epidemic. By turning over full ownership, the creditors agreed to forgive some €300 million in debt. Since then, the creditors have been analyzing offers from potential buyers, which included two from competing citizen-initiative groups and one from Michiel Witteveen (owner of the Blokker retail chain) among others. But in the end, it went to Parcom/Van Eerd family.
MALL OF THE NETHERLANDS
The Mall of the Netherlands in Leidschendam has announced three new tenants, all Dutch men’s brands – Coef, Dstrezzed and A Fish Named Fred. They will be located in the Gallery section of the mall.
Dutch digital secondhand clothing marketplace United Wardrobe is being taken over by competitor Vinted, out of Lithuania. Founded in 2014, United Wardrobe had grown to 4 million + users across the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany by 2019. Once the United Wardrobe platform is integrated into that of its new owner, Vinted will own the largest share of the vintage clothing sector in the Netherlands. The headquarters of the Dutch operations will remain in Utrecht.
DECATHLON LOSES BID…AGAIN
For the past two years, sporting goods retailer Decathlon has been fighting with the South Holland provincial board for the right to open a new large format, multi-function store location outside the city center. The original plan was to have it located in The Hague Forepark industrial area, off the A4 freeway. The board denied the request saying that it would drive business away from the city center, confounding an already existing problem of vacant retail space in the inner city. Both the retailer and the municipality’s planning commission contested the decision to no avail.
Soon after that rejection, the city of Schiedam approached the retailer to open the new location in their sportpark Harga, which is also adjacent to the A4 and not in the city center. Decathlon began exploring the new offer until they were rebuffed once again from the South Holland provincial board. They were not going to approve this new plan because they believed it too would have a negative effect on retail business in the Schiedam city center.
Eventually the conflict made its way to the Dutch courts. In late October, the Raad van Staat (Council of State) finally settled the matter when it ruled in the provincial board’s favor. It’s highly unlikely Decathlon will look to open its large format store elsewhere in South Holland.