Hudson’s Bay pulls out of Dutch market, closing 15 stores

Nearly three months after announcing its withdrawal from Germany, Canada's Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) is pulling out of the Dutch market, according to local media reports.

Dutch trade unions have confirmed the move, which would involve Hudson’s Bay closing 15 stores in major cities, but the company itself has said it is still in talks with stakeholders and that a final decision will be made at a later stage.

News of the rumoured pullout does not come as a surprise. In June the Canadian department store chain announced it was selling its German business to joint venture partner Signa, in a bid to release capital and pay off debts of €290 mln.

Although HBC said at the time that it would retain ownership of its 15 Dutch stores, some closures were widely expected. The company announced in April that its offshoot Saks Off 5th would be closing its stores in Amsterdam and Rotterdam at the end of June. Dutch media reported that HBC made losses of €80 mln in the Netherlands during 2018.

HBC entered the Dutch market two years ago with an ambitious €300 mln rollout programme across the country’s major cities. Nearly all the stores were properties formerly occupied by Dutch department store chain V&D which went bankrupt in early 2016.

HBC’s strategy was to fill the gap in the market left by V&D, a mid-range Dutch department store chain. The company also acquired a distribution centre in Mijdrecht near the central Dutch city of Utrecht.

Pulling out of the Netherlands would result in the loss of 1,400 jobs and is a further blow to the Dutch high street, which has seen a string of retailers go out of business in recent years due to competition from e-commerce.

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