The Belgian Metro and Makro stores will continue under their current brand names for at least another year. The new owners are taking their time to work out a strategy, and will not rush into a thorough restructuration.
Investors “see potential”
This morning the trade unions had a first meeting with Bronze Properties, the buyer of the seventeen Metro and Makro stores in Belgium. However, no concrete news was given. The investor says it sees potential in the Belgian stores, but it is not clear how the new owner intends to eliminate the enormous losses.
Adapting and downsizing the shops is one option, while the new owners also believe that they will be able to react more quickly if they have shorter decision-making lines. The stores will continue to operate under the existing brand names for at least one year, with the private labels of Metro and Makro and with the support of the former parent company. This licence can be extended.
A few months’ respite
The dreaded restructuring is therefore still some time away: “While we first thought that there would be a restructuring quickly, I now think that the new owners will take a few months’ time to work out a strategy”, Wilson Wellens of the ACLVB trade union told Belgian business newspaper De Tijd.
The unions fear major job losses, because Bronze Properties works together with GA Europe, a company that is known for its tough restructurings: it was involved in the sale of the Belgian Blokker stores and the restructuring of McTrek, among others.