NHD guest column on January 9
First the camping department disappeared. Then the Christmas department. And now at the last minute for the new year, the V&D has been declared bankrupt. A pity and a pity, especially for the staff. "V&D will certainly continue," said a spokesperson. Of course in a different form. And that was necessary for years. The V&D went bankrupt because it lost sight of the customers. A week earlier it was announced that you could no longer redeem your V&D gift cards. For any angry customers, extra security has already been hired.
Yet I saw the necessary reproaches to Facebook consumers on Facebook. V&D Den Helder is one of the worst-running stores and that is our fault: we do not shop enough. I can confirm the latter personally: I came once for my camping gear and Christmas decorations. CDs and DVDs. Quality at a decent price with a wide range. Now I prefer to buy online: order every hour of the day, everything is available and will be delivered the next day. Despite shipping costs often at a better price.
V&D was richly late with its internet ambitions: competitors such as Bol.com and Coolblue were already light years ahead. To make up for that, substantial investments were needed. Private equity giant KKR, the former owner of V&D, however, took all the bones off by selling the property. As a result, the problems with the landlords later. Without those extra rental costs, V&D would have simply made a profit. And that is called "market forces".
Why do we still shop physically? That is the question every retailer should ask himself. A store is no longer self-evident. A website is. The new standard consists of competitive prices, a full range and handy delivery and payment options. But as a store you can also offer something that no online shop has: personal attention and experience. That is why Coolblue invests precisely in stores: it is nowadays and / and.
In Den Helder, the V&D determines the Beatrixstraat. Primark! Media Markt! Shop in shop! Were the new suggestions on Facebook. Our municipality should take the lead and see how the building can be filled in in a future-proof manner. A Primark would indeed fit well in terms of target group and budget. With its emphasis on physical presence and less on online, Primark has managed to grow by around 15 percent every year.
I would like to see all kinds of small specialty stores with a unique assortment, tastings, workshops and experiences. This makes it possible to fill the department store premises relatively quickly and brings great variety. The high rents with long-term contracts are unfortunately often the big problem. Creating the right entrepreneurial climate is the first step. Smart entrepreneurs will follow afterwards. Because that too is market forces.