Kijkshop goes out of business leaving customers empty handed; 400 lose jobs

Kijkshop store in Winschoten
Photo: Gijs Bolmeijer / Wikimedia Commons. (Photo: Gijs Bolmeijer / Wikimedia Commons)

Kijkshop closed all of its stores on Monday and Swedish owner The One filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday. Some 400 people are now facing unemployment, reports.

The chain suffered under the changing retail world, where customers increasingly opt to shop online. Last year Kijkshop already closed 20 of its total 87 stores because they were no longer profitable. Some stores were sold to Neckermann. At the time the group stated that it wanted to maintain its physical store locations in addition to its online activities.

According to a spokesperson for The One, it is now up to the bankruptcy curator to see whether a sale or a restart is possible. The curator will also decide whether the stores will reopen temporarily to sell stock in the interests of the estate. 

The One will now focus on its online store concept KijkBijMij, an app on which consumers can give each other live advice via video in exchange for a commission. The app was downloaded around 100 thousand times in six weeks. The One may open physical stores again in the future, but on a much more limited scale.

Union CNV was not aware of the impending bankruptcy, but cant sy they're surprised by it, manager Kitty Huntjens said to the newspaper. "We've been waiting for years to see whether it would come to this. It is now the hope that if there is a restart, the current employees will benefit from it. Sometimes a bankruptcy is abused to get rid of older employees."

Kijkshop employees can contact their trade union for support. After the collapse of V&D, a special platform was also created to give shop employees who end up on the street career guidance.