Dec 23, 2015
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Largest Dutch department store V&D granted creditor protection

Dec 23, 2015

Vroom & Dreesman, the largest department store chain in the Netherlands, has been granted protection from creditors after failed efforts to turn around the troubled business, the company said on Wednesday.
V&D, with 10,000 employees at 62 stores across the Netherlands, has struggled to cut costs after posting losses in 2014.

"It is a huge disappointment that we have to seek protection from our creditors," Chief Executive John van der Ent said in a statement.

"We hope to be able to provide clarity as soon as possible to our workers, customers and suppliers."

The stores ran into liquidity problems in recent months due to weak sales and owner Sun Capital stopped providing emergency funding, van der Ent said. U.S. private equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc purchased the retailer in 2010.

"Based on this, the management came to the conclusion that V&D could no longer meet its payment obligations," van der Ent said.

This year, V&D's management negotiated lower rents, salary and job cuts.

V&D stores and its more than 200 La Place restaurants "will remain open in the coming period. This is in the interests of the creditors and of great importance to increase the chance of continuing the operations of the company, or parts of it," van der Ent said.

Dutch retailers have struggled since the global financial crisis, which led to five years of zero growth in the Dutch economy. Retail sales rebounded strongly this year, posting their best performance in seven years.

This week, Amsterdam stock exchange-listed Macintosh Retail Group, which owns several Dutch shoe store chains, filed for protection from creditors.

V&D was founded in 1887 by the Vroom and Dreesman families when the first store was opened in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam.

Its online store and shops receive 95 million visitors per year.


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