Dutch retailer Hema is facing a hefty post-Covid bill in the next few years: the chain has to repay nearly 120 million euros in deferred taxes and exaggerated support.
Hema had already published a 20 % comparable sales growth to just under two billion euros (in gross sales) last May. Net sales amounted to 1.3 billion euros, Dutch newspaper FD deduces from the chain’s annual report.
The chain was able to post a profit for the second year in a row, following the acquisition and debt restructuring by Parcom and the Van Eerd family (who won Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo) in 2021. Net profit did go down to 32.9 million, but the previous year’s net profit of 58.5 million euros was exceptional as the department store chain had sold its own bakeries.
Time to redeem
The positive results mean Hema is ready to repay the Dutch government for the support it received during the pandemic. That will still be a tough pill to swallow, FD reports: the company has yet to repay 107 million euros in deferred taxes from that period. The Dutch government had put that system in place during the pandemic to support struggling companies, but since last October, beneficiaries have to begin repaying that debt on a monthly basis. The longer that lasts, the higher the interest rate becomes.
On top of that, Hema has to repay an extra 11.4 million euros. That is mostly good news, though, as it means the chain lost less revenue than previously expected. The retailer received a total of 35.5 million euros in wage support, but now has to return a third of that.