Dutch high street chain Kijkshop goes bust with the loss of 400 jobs

Photo: Rudolphous via Wikimedia Commons

Kijkshop, the eletronics, household equipment and jewellery retailer, filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, the Financieele Dagblad said.

The FD reported the Swedish owner of the retailer, Sparkistan StClemens, which bought the chain only in December from another Swedish retailer Listérus & Partners decided to close its 70 outlets, making its 400 employees jobless. The previous owner had already shuttered one-quarter of Kijkshop outlets in March 2017.

Kijkshop – literally ‘look shop’ – opened in 1973 using a unique formula whereby goods were displayed in showcases and were paid for and collected at a sales counter. This enabled Kijkshop to employ far fewer employees than its competitors because it had no shelves to stock.

The formula became outmoded however and Kijkshop’s various owners tried to develop a new method of selling, going so far as to develop an app at a cost of more than €1m. The company booked a loss of €18.4m in 2016.

One FD reader described the concept as being like an online shop, albeit on paper, an out-of-date offline medium led to its downfall. Kijkshop will, however, continue operations through its internet app KijkBijMij.

A survey of 5,000 Dutch consumers last year showed that Kijkshop was one of the least likely retail formats to be missed if they disappeared from the high street.

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