Is Blokker pulling the plug in Belgium in January?

Not only are all 23 of Blokker's outlets in Wallonia running at a loss, the same is apparently true for the Flemish stores. Analysts fear a definitive end to the chain's Belgian branch in early 2019.

 

New restructurings on the horizon?

Newspaper La Libre Belgique is sounding the alarm: despite the closure of 63 outlets in Belgium and the termination of 230 employees after the most recent restructuring plan, Blokker is still not doing any better. In addition, the paper notes that so far the renewal of the store concept has only been executed in Flanders, and not a single outlet in the French-speaking part has been updated. Officially, this is because the company wants to see the test results first and the translation costs for new store material is too high.

 

Meanwhile, the chain has been going steadily downhill: an anonymous employee testifies that daily turnover in the Walloon outlets has fallen from between 2,500 and 3,000 euro to a mere 500. "All of Blokker's outlets in Wallonia are running at a loss", so no wonder rumour has it that a new restructuring is coming and that more stores will be closed.

 

Uncertain financing

The article also notes an important part of the retailer's annual report: because the bulk of the goods in the Belgian outlets are delivered by or through the Dutch Blokker company, a distribution agreement and a financing deal were made with the mother company. These deals expire in July 2020, but they can be ended as soon as 26 January 2019 if the company fails to reach the budgets. That would make the financing of Blokker NV (the Belgian company) very uncertain from that date onward. Blokker has refused to respond to the news.

 

RetailDetail has meanwhile been informed by a credible source that not only the outlets in Wallonia, but all Belgian Blokker stores are running at a loss, including the ones in Flanders and Brussels. This is an insufferable condition as the January termination clause includes these outlets as well. We have no doubt that this story will be continued...