The Dutch family group Blokker Holding has announced a major restructuring of its retail formulae for household goods chains Blokker and Marskramer resulting in the loss of 1,900 full-time jobs over the next two years. Jobs will be lost among retail staff in around 100 Blokker stores (1,160 jobs) and 100 Marskramer stores (650 jobs) which are to be closed, as well as among warehousing staff in a distribution facility in Mijdrecht (West Netherlands) (90 jobs) which will also be closed.
Blokker Holding has experienced enduring losses since 2014, purportedly having responded too late to competition from low-cost chains such as Action and e-commerce. Despite the efforts to modernise its original retail formula Blokker in 2016, restructuring among its formulae Blokker, Xenos, and Cook&Co, and restructuring among its Blokker stores in Belgium, it has now decided not only to more extensively restructure, but also to sell all its formulae except Blokker. The formulae up for sale consisting of Leen Bakker, Intertoys, Maxi Toys, Xenos and Big Bazar, employ nearly 13,500 persons and Blokker Holding hopes to sell them intact, although whether this can be achieved is uncertain at the moment.
The unions have emphasised the far-reaching consequences for those losing their jobs and disappointment at the failure of Blokker Holding's earlier efforts to improve business. A redundancy plan was already in place because of earlier restructuring and is valid until 1 June 2018.
Blokker was founded in 1896 and became a multinational mainly through acquisitions, with seven retail formulae in eight countries employing some 21,000 people by early 2017.