Cafes saving major shopping streets as Hudson’s Bay considers early NL exit

Cafes on an Amsterdam street
Cafes on an Amsterdam street. (Photo: magone/DepositPhotos)

Hospitality businesses like restaurants and cafes are increasingly prevalent on Dutch shopping streets, as more and more retailers are disappearing from the landscape due to financial problems. The latest business struggling to cope in the Dutch retail scene is Canadian department store chain Hudson's Bay. Only two years after entering the Dutch market, the parent company is looking to cut back, which may include closing stores.

In the major shopping cities in the Netherlands, 23 percent of retail spaces are now filled by hospitality businesses, compared to 16 percent in 2010, RTL Nieuws reports. "We are becoming more and more South-European, we are catching up with our Calvinist backlog", retail expert Hans van Tellingen from store researcher Strabo said to the broadcaster.

A major factor in the increasing number of restaurants and cafes on Dutch shopping streets, is vacancy left by other businesses going bankrupt. Since the start of last year, toy store chain Intertoys, clothing shop Sissy Boy, travel agency FlyOrange, retailer Leapp, and Kijkshop were all declared bankrupt. Because of the vacancies left by closing stores, rental prices are falling to levels that the hospitality industry can pay, Jorg Snoeck, retail expert at RetailDetail, said to RTL. 

Hudson's Bay may be the latest chain to leave empty shopfronts on Dutch streets. The Canadian chain is not performing as well as expected on the European market. Parent company HBC announced this week that it is selling its German activities to its Austrian competitor Signa. Hudson's Bay is staying active in the Netherlands, but the company expects to have to cut back, NU.nl reports. "HBC has hired a financial adviser to look at the options for the Dutch branch, which is not performing as expected", HBC said in a statement. Closing stores is one of the options that will be examined. 

The first Dutch Hudson's Bay store opened with great fanfare in Amsterdam in 2017. The department store chain has been struggling with disappointing results in the Netherlands from the start. Earlier this year there were rumors that the parent company was considering having the Dutch stores declared bankrupt

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