More Netherlands supermarkets open to 10:00 pm

Child in a supermarket
Child in a supermarket Photo: belchonock/DepositPhotos

The number of supermarkets in the Netherlands that are open until 10:00 p.m. on weekdays more than doubled in the past five years. Now one in seven supermarkets are open until late night, according to figures from website Openingstijden.nl, which keeps tracks of stores' operating hours, AD reports. 

In the past five years, the number of supermarkets with a closing time of 10:00 p.m. increased from 250 to over 550 of the approximately 4 thousand supermarkets in the Netherlands. Five years ago, consumers in 64 municipalities were able to find at least one supermarket open until 10:00 p.m. In 2019 this was the case in 83 municipalities. Now, stores are open till late in 119 municipalities.

Albert Heijn has the most stores with late closing times - 36 percent of its branches close at 10:00 p.m. Jumbo is in second place at 14 percent, followed by Plus at 9 percent, and Lidl at six percent. According to Albert Heijn, the extended opening hours is in response to customers' wishes. "We know that our customers are very busy and that shopping should above all be easy," a spokesperson said to AD. "This makes customers more flexible and allows them to decide for themselves when to go shopping during the day."

Not all supermarket chains are following this trend yet. Aldi, for example, has only 1 percent of its stores open until 10:00 p.m. Nettorama, Boni, and MCD haven't yet extended their operating hours. But Bob Gross of Openingstijden.nl expects that the extended operating hours will eventually spread to all supermarkets as well as retailers from other industries. "In order to be able to benefit from consumers who come shopping later in the evening," he said to the newspaper.

While consumers may be pleased with supermarkets staying open late, the trade unions are concerned. Mari Martens of FNV called the extension of shopping hours a bad thing. "I understand that supermarkets do this because they generate revenue from it, but actually it is totally irresponsible," he said to AD. According to him, it is mainly young employees and small shopkeepers who fall victim to this, working longer hours without extra income.

CNV is also critical of the development. "Where is the limit?" Jacqueline Twerda of the union said to the newspaper. "Sure, it can be nice to get some quick groceries half past nine in the evening. In that sense, extending opening hours is not an illogical development. But as a society we must ask ourselves if we want to got his way. As far as I am concerned, we really have to draw a line at 10:00 p.m. If stores want to stay open even longer, they will have to reward their staff better for that."

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