Colruyt Group is to restructure its ailing Dreamland and Dreambaby chains: six stores will close, 192 jobs are at stake. Belgian toy chain ToyChamp will acquire 75% of Dreamland’s shares.
After a critical evaluation, Colruyt Group has decided to restructure Dreamland and Dreambaby, which together form one technical business unit. Specifically, the retailer plans to close one Dreamland store and five Dreambaby stores. This would cost 192 of the approximately 1,100 jobs, making the Renault law on collective redundancies applicable.
The restructuring should give Dreambaby a new impetus to grow permanently on its own and in a sustainable way, the company says, but more is needed for Dreamland: that retail chain needs a strong partner. Colruyt has found that in Belgian family-owned toy chain ToyChamp, which operates more than 30 stores in Belgium and the Netherlands and has a distribution centre in Genk. Together, Dreamland and ToyChamp would become Belgium’s largest toy retailer.
ToyChamp would acquire 75% of Dreamland’s shares, gaining control of the chain, which will remain as a brand and legal entity. Current management will remain on board. Further details on the deal are not given by those involved.
Dreamland (accounting for 48 stores) and Dreambaby (30 stores) have been struggling for years with red numbers, falling volumes, and increasing competition from online players such as bol.com and Amazon, as well as more traditional retail chains such as ToyChamp or Fox & Cie. The retailer tried to turn the tide with a revamped shop concept and a new online strategy with higher delivery costs and a focus on click & collect, but at the end of January managing director Dieter Struye had to leave due to disappointing results.
ToyChamp is the company of the Nolmans family. The chain focuses on large experience stores of 1,400 to 2,000 m², with shop-in-shops of brands such as LEGO, Sylvanian Families, Baby Born, Squishmallows and Schleich. ToyChamp’s success contrasts sharply with the difficulties experienced by sector peers such as Bart Smit, Intertoys and Maxi Toys in recent years.