Douglas Closes 20% of its Stores in Europe 350 Jobs Threatened in France

Nearly 20% of the stores of the German perfume group Douglas will close in Europe, the group announced Thursday. Affected by the fall in economic activity linked to the coronavirus epidemic, the brand wants to focus on online sales.

“About 500 of the 2,400 European stores will be closed by the fall of 2022,” said the German group, which owns France’s Nocibé, in a statement. In total, 2,500 jobs are threatened by these closures in Europe, including “around 350” in France, where the group operates entirely under the Nocibé brand, company spokespersons said.

“We didn’t see it coming”
The group plans to close 62 stores in France, or 12% of its fleet, the largest in Europe. According to the CFTC union, 338 employees working in stores and 9 at headquarters are concerned in France. “The Covid has accelerated digitization, as everywhere, but it’s a shock”, “we had seen nothing coming” commented the secretary (CFTC) of the social and economic committee, Véronique Moreau, noting that the closures will target oldest stores.

Douglas, present in Spain, Italy and Poland in particular, justifies these measures by “changing the consumption habits” of its customers, in favor of online purchases, to the detriment of physical sales. This phenomenon, already present before the crisis, was “accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the company explains.

The company’s project, which also includes a digital activity development component, was presented to French employee representatives on Thursday morning. It ensures that it wants to “seek all solutions” for “appropriate support” for employees affected by these reductions of subsidiaries.

Increase in turnover
A large part of the closures should in any case take place in the countries of “southern Europe”, where the group’s activity has been “particularly hit by the impact of the pandemic”, which has led to several periods of closure. “non-essential” businesses.

In Spain, 40% of stores will be closed, that is to say 97 closings and six restructurings, indicated in a statement the union Workers’ Commissions, which estimates at 600 the number of positions which could be cut. The union considers this restructuring “totally disproportionate”.

Douglas saw a sharp drop in adjusted operating profit (-16.7%) and sales (-6.4%) for its lagged 2019/2020 fiscal year. In online sales, however, in 2020 the group achieved a turnover up 40.6% to 822 million euros.

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