Over 20,000 stores closed since economic crisis started

Since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008, about 22 thousand stores in the Netherlands have disappeared, mostly due to bankruptcy. According to calculations by market researcher Q&A, there are about 90 thousand stores left at the end of this year.

During this past year national chains like Mexx, Halfords, Henk ten Hoor Textiel, BS Budgetstore, De Block, Free Record Shop, De Slegte, Polare and Siebel have been declared bankrupt. A number of stores continued in a much reduced form.

"For the people involved, it is of course terrible that stores went bankrupt, but for the entire retail landscape it is just better", says Q&A director Frank Quix. "The Netherlands had too many stores. Just before the crisis we had 112 thousand stores, according to us that was 35 to 40 percent too many. Thus there is now a considerable realignment underway."

The number of stores in the electronics industry especially declined. Stores like It's Electronics, Modern, Block, Prijstoper and De Harense Smid disappeared. The number of stores declined by a quarter. "But the stores that remain are now getting more air." says Quix. Quix expects that the misery in retail is not over. "In early 2015 even more companies will get into trouble. Banks are awaiting the Christmas season, but if that is disappointing, blows will fall again."

Paul Moers, brand and retail expert, agrees. "We have been living in crisis for years. Many stores have used up their power. Their reserves are gone. And then our economy may grow 1 percent, 1.5 percent next year... tja, that's obviously not very much. The salvation for companies that are struggling is still far away." Moers predicts trouble for clothing, electronics, shoes and hardware stores.