Hudson's Bay Company to open 20 stores in the Netherlands

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Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) plans to make its first foray outside of Canada by opening 20 new stores in the Netherlands over the coming two years.

The company’s first Dutch stores are scheduled to open in the summer of 2017 and use both the Hudson’s Bay and Saks OFF 5th brands. In a release, HBC says it is currently in the process of finalizing the leases to the stores. It is expected that most of the store locations will be located in spaces recently vacated by the Vroom & Dressmann (V&D) department store chain.

When V&D declared bankruptcy last year and proceeded to shut down its 60 stores, it disrupted the country’s retail industry and left a void for another department store chain to fill. Analysts say the store struggled for years because it lost market share against cheaper stores such as H&M and lacked a clear brand and identity.

But HBC says it will overcome this with a uniquely tailored approach for its entry into the Dutch market.

“We believe that in the Dutch retail market there is unmet demand in both the premium department store and off-price segments,” said Jerry Storch, HBC’s Chief Executive Officer, in a statement.

“The situation is similar to the one we capitalized on in Canada with Hudson’s Bay. We introduced a new, innovative format offering relevant brands and excellent service. We will use our proven playbook based on our success with fantastic department stores combined with local management expertise to create innovative retail destinations.”

The expansion into the Netherlands will create 2,500 in-store jobs, 2,500 construction jobs, and involve a capital investment of 300 million Euros (CAD$437 million), which will be mainly funded by incentives provided by landlords.

Last year, HBC acquired Germany’s largest department store chain, Galeria Kaufhof, for $3.9 billion. It already owns Saks Fifth Avenue, which will open its first presence in the region this fall with a Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th outlet store at Metro Vancouver’s Tsawwassen Mills shopping centre.

HBC is still looking for a location in downtown Vancouver to open a Saks Fifth Avenue department store, but large suitable spaces are difficult to come by. There have previously been discussions to incorporate Saks Fifth Avenue into the existing downtown flagship store.

Earlier this year, Saks Fifth Avenue opened two stores at Toronto’s Eaton Centre and Sherway Gardens.

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