The bankrupt multimedia chain Free Record Shop is making a restart, keeping all Belgian stores. In the Netherlands a “reasonable amount of shops” will be saved, but some people will lose their jobs.
End to uncertainty about Belgian branch
The electronics chain was declared bankrupt at the end of May, because it had picked up too late on the rising number of downloads of music and films through the internet. The chain has about seventy locations in Belgium, including the stores of subsidiary Game Mania.
All these shops were originally bought by investment fund ProCures, but the shops had to return the stores. It also did not follow up on its agreement to give a loan of seven million euro to the remainder of Dutch shops of Free Record Shop.
The caretakers also discovered that ProCures imputed an amount of 750,000 euro on the Belgian branch during the time the investment company was in charge. Additionally, a number of candidate buyers insisted with the curators to put both branches (Dutch and Belgian) in one package.
Dutch branch will have to be reduced
In the Netherlands Free Record Shop had 141 locations, but dozens of those have already been closed in the past few weeks. The rest were kept open by former employees, rehired as temporary workforce, in anticipation of a possible restart. The shops did not receive any new products: only what was in stock could be sold, resulting in severe sales drops.
How many shops and jobs will be saved in the Netherlands will be revealed on Monday, when the caretakers will give more information and the name of the buyer. The Belgian shops and employees need not worry: their branch is probably more than safe.