Zuid Holland retail news update for November 2016 – Marks & Spencer to close in The Hague, construction begins on Mall of Netherlands and businesses in Zoetermeer fight to kill development plans for Holland Outlet Mall.
A few months ago came news that British citizens voted to leave the European Union, the so-called Brexit. Now we hear news that Marks & Spencer will be closing its store here in The Hague, which opened less than three years ago in February 2014. The announcement was made during an investor’s call reporting M&S corporate earnings for first half of 2016. The company saw a slight increase in overall sales but a decline in net profit. Turns out that company-owned international stores are unprofitable for M&S, except for franchised stores, which turn a profit. Thus the announcement that the plan is to close M&S company-owned stores in 10 countries which includes the Netherlands, Belgium, China, Estonia, France, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, to focus instead on expanding franchised opportunities with local operators. No projected date has been given yet for the closing of The Hague store, although it is likely to be after the Christmas holidays.
On a brighter note, construction has begun on the underground parking lot for the new Mall of Netherlands in Leidschendam. The completely enclosed, modern mall, to be finished in 2018, is being built on the Leidsenhage shopping center site. Most stores will remain open while the M.O.N. is built around them. The new 116,000 m2 lifestyle center will have a 10-screen movie cinema, approximately 20 restaurants, designer gallery with top name shops and an adjacent park. It is expected to attract between 12-14 million visitors by 2019. Leidsenhage currently attracts approximately 8 million visitors annually.
Lastly, the Holland Outlet Mall, to be built at Stadshart in Zoetermeer, is facing stiff opposition from local business owners who are pressuring city officials to reject the project. They argue such a mall would put them out of business, thus adding to the ongoing retail space over-capacity issue which has caused a high shop vacancy rate, especially in the adjacent city center area. They feel the municipality should be supporting local businesses rather than building a mall which would attract international businesses. They have also raised the question of whether there are enough shoppers in the region to support such a mall. With the nearest outlet mall being nearly two hours away by car, one has to question whether this concern is even valid. We have our fingers crossed that the Zoetermeer planning committee approves the Holland Outlet Mall project.