The Dutch moderate department store V&D has returned to the Netherlands marketplace, albeit not on the High Street where it once operated 60+ locations…
V&D DEPARTMENT STORES
The first Vroom & Dreesmann department store opened on the Kalverstraat in Amsterdam in 1912. Over the course of a century, the V&D business and its popularity with Dutch consumers grew significantly. But financial difficulties would plague the company in the Millennium.
By late 2015 its owner, Lions Capital Investment Group, opted not to inject anymore cash into V&D after years of disappointing financial results. The retail chain quickly fell into bankruptcy and just weeks later was liquidated after a viable buyer could not be found.
At the time of its shutdown in January 2016, the Dutch V&D department store chain had 62 branch locations. It was present on High Street in all major cities and was the anchor store for numerous shopping malls (‘winkelcentrums’). The loss of V&D left a significant void in the marketplace and in the hearts of millions of Dutch shoppers.
RETURN OF V&D
The V&D nameplate had developed strong brand recognition and generated enormous ‘goodwill’ value during the 100+ years it operated in the Netherlands. And so it comes as no surprise that V&D is a player once more! The V&D department store webshop is now live online.
The new V&D offers an product assortment similar to that of its former brick-and-mortar self… women’s, men’s and children’s apparel, shoes and accessories, cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry, watches, home decor, garden furniture, bedding, electronics, small appliances, computers, smartphones, sporting goods, stationery and books. Its primary target is consumers in the 40-55 year age range.
The new V&D benefits from low overhead costs (orders are shipped directly from the supplier to the customer) and the company is not saddled with the high debt load which was a key factor in the company’s original demise.
The new V&D online shop sells merchandise from both Dutch and international brands such as Gabor, Tommy Hilfiger, Floris van Bommel, Bjorn Borg and Esprit), but no products under its former private labels like Liv and Soho. It may reintroduce those at a future date, once the company gets some traction with its return. Their goal is to reach €100 million in sales by the fifth year, the amount the company had been generating from online sales at the time the department store chain went out of business.
This new V&D webshop has a Dutch owner – Coolinvestments (CoolCat, America Today,MS Mode) – and a strong executive team that includes Ronald van Zetten (former CEO of Hema) and Alexander van Slooten (former Director of Internet Operations for wehkamp).