Dramatic end to Hudson's Bay's Dutch venture

Troubled Canadian department store group Hudson’s Bay Company reportedly ejected customers from its stores in the Netherlands on Thursday, as it was confirmed the company is to close all its outlets in the country.

Dutch media said shoppers were ushered off premises and the company’s website stopped working, as the union representing 1,424 employees in 15 Hudson’s Bay outlets said staff were told of the final decision following months of reports.

The shops will definitely shutter on New Year’s Eve, 31st December, reported Reuters. However, it appears the winding up process may have been accelerated by HBC, which owns the Hudson's Bay brand. The retailer’s Dutch website remained out of operation today (Friday). 

Hudson’s Bay recently reported a second-quarter net loss of $462 mln (€315 mln), a year-on-year rise in losses of $358 mln (€244 mln). Of this, €47 mln was from the European operations.

Uncertainty has dogged the department store chain for months, amid falling sales. The company made losses of €80 mln in the Netherlands last year, according to local media. 

Owner HBC entered the country in 2017, investing €300 mln in a strategy to replace a defunct chain of department stores. Nearly all the outlets were properties formerly occupied by the Dutch chain, V&D. HBC also purchased a distribution centre near the city of Utrecht.

‘It is hardly a real surprise,’ said Jacqueline Twerda, director of CNV Vakmensen in response to the latest development.

‘Nonetheless, this is a very bitter end that will hit more than 1,400 people. We will meet with the management as quickly as possible to arrange good compensation.’

PropertyEU has approached HBC for comment.

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