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A look at the Dutch market through the lens of Niek Jansen, CEO of REXOR Schuh-Einkaufsvereinigungs-Gesellschaft mbH - Interview by Claudia Schulz

The Rexor company was founded 60 years ago by a group of independent German retailers. It is a classic purchasing group that today boasts a complex organisation with a wealth of services, including that of guaranteeing payments in the associate-supplier relationship. The group currently has more than 500 members, including shoe and textile retailers, with a total of around one thousand stores – located in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria and Switzerland – and a turnover in excess of 200 million euros a year.

Rexor’s supply chain of reference is made up of more than 250 brands and manufacturers in Italy and throughout Europe.

With Niek Jansen, CEO of REXOR Schuh-Einkaufsvereinigungs-Gesellschaft mbH, we take a closer look at the market situation in the Netherlands.

“These are very uncertain times for shoe and textile retailers in the Netherlands. The coronavirus has a direct influence on the overall interest of consumers in our products. Stores across the Netherlands are trying to work together to better cope with the situation. The city centres are suffering the most and are having a very difficult time. A drop in sales of 30-50% seems more than realistic. Smaller towns, on the other hand, are experiencing losses of 10 to 30%.”

What is the mood of Dutch retailers?

“Retailers, in general, are positive people, otherwise they would never have started a business, but this situation of deep uncertainty is the biggest crisis most of them have had to deal with in their entire professional life.”

What are your strategies for the coming months?

“Survival…we are trying hard to convince consumers who are interested or need to buy shoes and accessories to visit our online and offline stores.”

Will fashion consumption change?

“It’s too early to answer this question. What if millions of people lose their jobs in the next few years, will they buy a home or go on vacation, or will they buy shoes and accessories? Will we still go to parties and celebrations or will we abstain? Will we need new shoes? How long will the effects of Covid-19 affect all of us, all of Europe and the world?”

Will you visit any trade fairs in the near future?

“We will visit every trade fair that can be visited. We need these contacts, and we need to see and touch the products. Doing everything online alone is not enough and we desperately need to meet and talk in person with our friends and partners.”