Hema to sell bakeries, take up wholesale activities

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Hema had a bumpy ride last year: comparable turnover dropped and losses increased due to the change in ownership. The department store chain is therefore making some bold choices: it's selling its bakeries and developing wholesale activities for the first time.


Bakeries out, wholesale in

Last year, Hema managed to generate a record turnover of 1.27 billion euros, a 2.8% increase compared to the previous year, but that is entirely due to new store openings. In the existing stores, turnover actually dropped by the same percentage, mostly due to the hot summer and some problems with the IT infrastructure. A change of ownership also influenced the past financial year as Hema was acquired by Marcel Boekhoorn. Now, the takeover seems to have given the company a second wind. Under its new ownership, Hema is about to move into a new direction.

For the first time, the chain will begin to sell its own products outside of its own stores. Rumour has it that a collaboration with Bol.com is in the works as well as some other e-commerce platforms.

Boekhoorn will also be outsourcing Hema's bakeries in order to decrease the company's debt load. The new owner is hoping to find a buyer this summer. Several serious candidates have come forward, including a major international bakery group. If successful, the sale should allow Hema to decrease its debts by 750 million euros.


Move to the US?

Hema will no longer be managing its foreign expansion on its own, but start to involve master franchisers. Concrete plans for expanding into a third continent are in the works. This will likely be the US.

The new partnerships should allow for accelerated growth as well as lower expenses. Hema's next step will be to continue to update its stores in the domestic market. The chain is also planning to open three new flagship stores in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam.