This may be the traditional time of year for buying presents but many of the Netherlands’ toy shops are in serious financial trouble, Nos television reports on Friday.
Sales have been declining steadily since 2008 and experts say some 300 of the country’s 1,100 toy shops may have to close their doors in the coming years.
‘In four years their turnover has gone done by 25%, from €1bn in 2008 to around €770m in 2011,’ Amsterdam University retail expert Frank Quix told the broadcaster.
A recent report by ABN Amro bank also said turnover in the non-food retail sector is plummeting and bankruptcies will rise in 2013.
The economic crisis and the shift to online shopping for computer games in particular, is behind the downward trend.
In addition, chains like Bart Smit and Intertoys are facing competition from other outlets like book shops and the Kruidvat high street chemists chain which are also stocking toys. DIY chains like Gamma are also moving into the sector.
Independent shops are among the hardest hit. ‘It looks bad,’ said Jan Sinke of sector magazine Speelgoed+Hobby. ‘The owners say ‘I have cut down on wrapping paper, on plastic bags, on shop lighting and personnel. There is nothing more I can cut. Next year I will have to close down.’
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