French baby store chain Orchestra-Prémaman is taking drastic measures in Belgium: it has announced 22 store closures, to come on top of the 12 already planned. As a result, the chain will keep only 19 stores and 200 jobs.
More than half of the 422 jobs will disappear, Belgian newspaper L’Echo reports. The chain currently has 53 stores in Belgium, meaning two of every three stores will close. The decision comes after disappointing results the chain had to report earlier this week: the Belgian and Luxembourg stores saw a turnover decrease - contrary to the trend in other countries.
Orchestra-Prémaman has been in financial trouble for a while: the chain has a heavy debt burden and is under protection against creditors since the end of September, to allow the chain to work on its recovery for six months. The management has since been working on a reorganisation, reflected in the earlier decision to close twelve loss-making stores, which would cost about fifty jobs.
The Belgian branch of retail chain Orchestra-Prémaman was hit hard by the fall of its French parent company, which has been struggling with declining sales and increasing losses for years. Among other things, the "yellow vests" movement in France caused a sharp drop in the number of people visiting the stores. In addition, the company is active in a sector that is facing increasing competition from online and second-hand markets.