The lockdown hits Hema hard. The retail chain is cancelling all running orders, will not be placing any new orders for the time being, and will pay its suppliers late.
According to Trouw, Hema is taking all these measures unilaterally. The Dutch newspaper is basing this on a letter that Hema has sent to its key suppliers in Asia. In addition to cancelling all current orders until mid-April, the retailer stated therein that it is extending the payment term for already delivered items by thirty days.
It is said, the measures are not based on acute cash shortages, although a spokeswoman says the lockdown is costing the retailer around 10 million euros a week. "The company is not going to collapse any time soon," she says. "But we are thinking about the question: how can we do this? The stock from December, usually our busiest month, is mostly still there. And, getting new stock delivered that will never reach the customer is bad entrepreneurship."
According to retail expert Paul Moers, the current difficulties show that Hema still has a long way to go in terms of online sales. Also, there hasn't been enough investment in the renewal of the stores. "For far too long, far too much money has been used to put Hema on the map abroad," he says. "That came at the expense of innovation. [...] You have to renew a store formula every five to six years, but Hema hasn't done anything since the turn of the century."
Last month, Parcom and Jumbo family Van Eerd acquired Hema. The new owners have already announced they want to focus on the Netherlands again, a choice that Moers calls "very wise". "But they are now reaping the bitter fruits of years of bad policy," he concludes.