Many stores cut hours due to worker shortage
A worker shortage in the retail sector is forcing many shops to close early, according to Nu.nl. The Dutch Retail Council (RND) and INretail, a trade association for the fashion, sport and shoe industries, both report this problem.
There are around 40,000 jobs open in the retail sector right now and companies are also finding it difficult to keep staff once they are hired. The issue affects distribution centers, as well. "There is enormous competition between different sectors and everyone is fishing in the same pond," said Jan Meerman, director of INretail.
Because of this, many medium-sized companies are adjusting their hours. "More and more shops are closing earlier: for example at six o'clock in the evening instead of eight o'clock," said Eus Peters, director of the RND.
Business owners are also coping by closing smaller branches of companies to send staff to "larger, profitable stores," Meerman said. He also suggested investing in technology that cuts down on the need for human staff: for example, more self-checkouts.
The situation is "very worrying," Peters said. Olaf Zwijnenburg, sector manager retail and wholesale at Rabobank, agrees that understaffed stores are in a precarious position.
"Retailers have to do their best to get customers back to the stores," he told Nu.nl. "An inspiring shopping environment and staff with a lot of knowledge are very important for this. If the quality of the staff is not sufficient, eventually the competition will be lost."