Belgian interior chain Casa International, active in eight countries, has applied for protection against creditors as the corona crisis has wiped out turnover. However, no store closures or redundancies are planned for the time being.
Will Blokker family jump in again?
The interior chain had made a strong start in 2020, with turnover 10 % higher than in 2019, but the Covid-19 pandemic has had a strong impact on that recovery, the company stated in a press release. The retailer has therefore applied for a judicial reorganisation that should give the company the breathing space it needs to re-establish the continuity of its operations. Debts need to be rescheduled, but there is no intention to close stores or lay off staff, CEO Giane Van Landuyt told Belgian newspaper De Tijd.
The retailer, which is owned by the Dutch retail family Blokker, has been suffering losses for years and has a mountain of debts: in 2018, a turnover of 174 million euros resulted in a net loss of 19 million euros. At the beginning of this year, the Blokker family has already contributed 69.5 million euros to make the retailer's finances healthier and to regain the trust of suppliers. A drastic strategic plan, Casa 20.20, had to make the company future-proof again: logistics were reorganised, the stores were given a new house style and e-commerce was further expanded. But the coronavirus is now thwarting those plans.
Casa has more than 500 stores in eight countries (Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland) and employs around 3100 people.