Restaurants set to lose billions over extended coronavirus closures; Hema in trouble

Closures to curb the spread of the coronavirus mean that restaurants, bars, cafes and other hospitality and catering businesses will lose out at around 5 billion euros in turnover this year, according to estimates from hospitality association KHN. Department store chain HEMA is also being hit hard by Covid-19 and is taking measures to try and prevent collapse.

On Tuesday the government announced that the anti-coronavirus measures will be extended from April 6 to at least April 28. "April is a very important month, with Easter, King's Day and the start of the tourist season," KHN chairman Rober Willemsen said to NU.nl. "Even if we can open in May, we've lost half of the annual turnover." KHN estimates the turnover loss for its members at 5 billion euros.

Anti-coronavirus measures also means that all HEMA branches abroad are closed, and those in the Netherlands are much quieter than usual. "The survival of our company is jeopardized," CEO Tjeerd Jegen said in a letter to the owners of the HEMA retail properties, which Financieele Dagblad has in its possession. HEMA will therefore pay its landlords half the rent for April and May, and has postponed employees' annual appraisal interviews so that wage increases happen later in the year.

HEMA has been struggling on the Dutch shopping streets for years. The chain suffered a loss every year since 2013 and is struggling under a mountain of debt of over 750 million euros, NOS reports. 

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