Dutch retailer Hema is going through a reorganisation for the second time in three years. This time, up to a hundred employees are to leave the head office and the department store chain is to drastically cut back on its product range. Good news for fans, however: the iconic Hema sausage is guaranteed to stay.
100 positions will change
New CEO Saskia Egas Reparaz has been at Hema for almost a year now, and she has reached some serious conclusions. A lot needs to happen and change, she tells newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad. The chain will therefore carry out a hefty reorganisation, even though there had already been one in 2019.
At the Amsterdam headquarters, 30 to 40 jobs will be lost. However, the overall impact will be much greater, as in total, about 100 jobs are changing. The position might change, be transferred to another department, or in some cases be abolished. Those who lose their jobs can apply for vacant positions.
Egas Reparaz is mainly removing management layers, but country teams will also be affected. Earlier on, the CEO decided to withdraw Hema from the United Kingdom and Spain, and to focus on the Benelux and France from now on.
Goodbye socks and wine
In the shops, the aim to reduce the range: the entire product range is under critical scrutiny. “Hema has about 19,000 SKUs, divided into about 195 main category groups and five major components,” says spokesperson Norbert Cappetti. “We are examining all these groups. In some categories there will be more changes than in others, in order to meet our principles: more practical, more beautiful, better and more durable.”
To achieve this, the chain wants to move towards fewer different types of the same product group, but of better quality. “So, for example, fewer different types of socks of better quality, but also fewer different packages of the same sock. At the moment we sell packs of 2, 5 and 7 of the same sock.” Hema does not yet know how many SKUs will ultimately remain, as it is possible that new categories and products will be added, for example in the field of homeworking.
Hema categorically denies earlier reports that the food and beverage range would disappear. Instead, products from Jumbo and La Place will appear in the shops, just as, conversely, there are already Hema products in the Jumbo supermarkets. This is a logical choice, as the owners of Jumbo have been co-owners of Hema since 2020. However, Cappetti guarantees that its classics, Hema smoked sausage and its tompouce pastry, will continue to exist.
More sustainability with less
At the same time, the Dutch chain wants to invest in updated shops, service and sustainability. “The quality of our products must improve. Then people will also want to use them for longer. In addition, we need to produce more sustainably,” says Egas Reparaz. Part of the production should eventually come closer to home (think Turkey instead of China) and the chain hopes to have carbon emission targets ready next year.
This also explains the smaller assortment: by offering fewer different socks, for example, the quality should be able to go up without higher prices. Economies of scale and simpler logistics would ensure this. Hema remains clearly committed to price, although price increases, as everywhere, are becoming unavoidable today. “We are working on a change that will take years,” is the conclusion.