Staff shortages hit the Dutch retail sector hard: shoe chain Bristol had to cut opening hours in recent weeks and even temporarily close two shops due to lack of staff.
Effects “remain limited”
Two Bristol shops (in Woerden and Utrecht) remained closed for a while in recent weeks, due to lack of staff, although they have since reopened. Elsewhere, the shoe retailer scrapped evening opening hours, while yet other shops only opened after midday. Most of the measures have already been lifted, CEO Elise Vanaudenhove told Belgian newspaper De Tijd. “We are facing staff shortages that affect the entire Dutch retail sector.”
Turnover is already high in the retail sector anyway: chains are short of both branch managers and shop employees. Still, Vanaudenhove believes that the impact on sales and profits will remain rather limited for Bristol. The shoe chain has been operating at a loss for years and tried to cut costs, and last year the company was operationally profitable for the first time since 2016. After a period of restructuring, Bristol is ready to grow again, planning twenty new stores to open over the next five years.