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Brantano liquidation: What’s going on?

Belga

The ongoing liquidation of Brantano stores across Belgium has been present all week with news of busy shops, police intervention and discounted sales, but for someone who hasn’t keep track – what exactly is going on?

Saturday – 75% discounts, police called

In the majority of Brantano stores, the first day of liquidation on Saturday went well, according to the auction company Moyersoen, which organizes the liquidation. “Only four stores are affected by police intervention or closure,” said Jeroen Van Daele of the auction house. “There were no problems in the other 60 or so.”

Trade unions, however, strongly criticized the curators and the auction company, saying Moyersoen maximized its profits by not taking sufficient measures to manage a large influx, in the midst of a Covid-19 outbreak. The unions felt it was predictable that 75% discounts would attract a lot of people.

“We had indeed anticipated a slightly lower turnout, but this is certainly not the first time we have made such discounts,” said Jeroen Van Daele, for whom the unions’ attitude is “very negative”. “In 99% of the cases, the workers are very satisfied. The staff was happy to be able to work: we received a lot of messages and photos, until 10 o’clock in the evening”.

The Christian trade union ACV Puls/CNE described the working conditions on Saturday as “scandalous” and demands action. “The stores can no longer be opened under the present circumstances,” said trade unionist Sven De Scheemaeker.

Monday – taking into account problems

On Monday, 49 Brantano stores opened, according to the auction house Moyersoen. It says it has taken into account a number of the problems it has seen. Additional cash registers were installed and more staff were mobilized. Additional security guards were also provided.

vanHaren Schoenen moves in

Also on Monday, Dutch shoe retailer vanHaren Schoenen, a subsidiary of the German giant Deichmann, announced that it would take over 43 Brantano stores in Belgium as of 1 October. The information was confirmed by the receivers of FNG, the bankrupt parent company of Brantano.

Under the terms of the agreement, the receivers have until the end of September to continue to liquidate the stocks of the stores concerned.

In a press release, vanHaren explained that it is pleased to take an “important step” towards expansion in the Belgian market. Over the past three years, the company has opened 16 stores in Belgium. With the takeover of some 40 Brantano stores, its Belgian network will now comprise around 60 points of sale.

Wednesday – still plenty of stock

The Brantano stores will be open on Wednesday from 11:00 AM to give the staff time to get there, said Moyersoen, promising that there would still be ample stock.

Waiting times are also expected to be shorter than on previous days, according to Moyersoen.

Beyond? 

The liquidation remains expected to continue for several more weeks. “The stock is still important, maybe we could open more stores in the next few days and put even more Brantano staff to work. Just to be clear: they will be employed by us via temporary contracts,” said Moyersoen.

The Brussels Times

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