Online growth limits the damage for De Bijenkorf

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Dutch department store chain De Bijenkorf has seen its sales drop dramatically last year due to compulsory store closures. Its online shops performed excellently, but could not fully compensate for the losses.

 

No party

2020 was supposed to be a festive anniversary year for De Bijenkorf: the department store chain turned 150, but the coronavirus spoiled the party and the company saw its sales fall by 22 %. This decline was a logical consequence of the compulsory store closures during the pandemic. The seven physical stores remained closed for a total of thirteen weeks, including during the crucial end-of-year period. The company reports that this led to a 44 % drop in revenue in the brick-and-mortar stores.

 

This loss was offset partly by rising online sales in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany: the number of online visitors rose by 31 %, while sales increased by 53 %. Nevertheless, De Bijenkorf still managed to make a profit: operating profit fell from 77.8 million to 19.40 million euros.

 

The department store chain continued to invest in both the physical and its online stores. Last year, a French version of its webshop went live, first serving customers in Belgium and subsequently addressing the French market as well. In October, the Austrian webshop was launched. Several departments in the physical store were renewed, and pop-ups (including Louis Vuitton) appeared.