Bijenkorf scraps massive holiday light spectacle, dozens of jobs to cut costs: report

Turn on the Lights 2015 (Photo: @deBijenkorf/Twitter)Turn on the Lights 2015 (Photo: @deBijenkorf/Twitter)

Bijenkorf is no longer immune to the ravage online shopping caused to the Dutch retail landscape. The department store chain is cutting costs to turn the tide with dozens of layoffs and the cancellation of its most expensive event of the year - Turn On The Lights in Amsterdam, Financieele Dagblad reports based on anonymous sources and a document to employees the newspaper has in its possession.

"The retail landscape is restless", Bijenkorf wrote in the document sent to employees in the spring of 2019. "De Bijenkorf is noticing the impact of this." The document does not state how many Bijenkorf employees lost or is losing their jobs. But sources told FD that around 30 employees at the head office were fired last spring.

Bijenkorf also canceled expensive light show Turn On The Lights in Amsterdam. FD reports that this has to do with cutting costs. On Twitter, Bijenkorf blamed it on permit issues, and the city of Amsterdam said the company did not take the necessary steps to put on such a widely-attended event in the city center.

"In recent years, the event has become increasingly large and extensive. This requires, among other things, new permits. In addition, de Bijenkorf is giving a new meaning to its festive season", the company said on Twitter "That is why it was decided not to organize a Turn on the Lights. We understand that this is disappointing for some, but we have many new fun events in our stores during the holidays."

"The event has been growing for years, and therefore the organization should have applied for an event permit. This did not happen, even though de Bijenkorf knew that it had to do that. The department store therefore made the choice not to allow the event to happen," a city spokesperson told AT5.