Hudson’s Bay Co. (HBC) will shutter its 15 Hudson’s Bay stores, e-Commerce site and headquarters in the Netherlands by Dec. 31, 2019. The Netherlands exit is not expected to have any impact on the day-to-day operations of the Hudson’s Bay business in North America.
The move comes less than a month after HBC sold one of its oldest assets, department store Lord & Taylor, to fashion rental subscription service Le Tote for $99.5 million.In February, the company shuttered its Home Outfitters operations in Canada and put 133 Saks Off 5TH stores under review, so it’s clear HBC has been scaling back its presence amid financial struggles. Net losses in Q2 amounted to $350 million, with comparable sales across all brands dipping 0.4%.
In its Q2 earnings call earlier this month, Jennifer Bewley, HBC’s Head of Investor Relations, indicated that the Netherlands market had been an “underperforming business” that was costing the company $75 million in rent per year.
HBC has gone through leadership changes at its various banners, largely related to the company’s financial struggles. Hudson’s Bay and Home Outfitters President Alison Coville stepped down in March 2019, while Lord & Taylor President Vanessa LeFebvre left her post in June 2019.
Hudson’s Bay Netherlands is owned by a retail joint venture of HBC and Signa Retail Holdings, a European retail and real estate operator, comprising Germany, Belgium and Netherlands operations. HBC has agreed to divest its interests in the joint venture to Signa as part of its exit.
The companies have been involved in joint ventures in the past, namely a November 2018 merger between two German department stores, HBC’s Galeria Kaufhof and Signa’s Karstadt. In June 2019, HBC sold its 49.99% stake in the merged company to Signa.
The Hudson’s Bay Netherlands management team has agreed with local unions to offer solutions for employees impacted by the closures.