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200 jobs under threat as Dreamland and Dreambaby stores to close
Almost 200 jobs are under threat after the retail giant Colruyt Group announced the restructuring of its Dreamland and Dreambaby chains.
The decision is likely to result in the closure of six stores.
Union representative Didier Daminet told RTL that the announcement had come as a shock.
"The feeling is a bit like disgust," he said. "We were all wondering what would happen, but we did not expect that. We will do everything to defend the staff."
Colruyt Group stated that increased competition and a broader shift to online consumption have resulted in a drop in profitability despite the retail giant’s leading position in the market.
Although the group has tried to adapt its online range and delivery rates to meet changing consumer habits, the announcement said, there has been little improvement in their fortunes.
"The restructuring of Dreambaby should give this non-food formula new impetus to grow sustainably and on its own and contribute to the group's long-term strategy," Colruyt said.
The retail group also announced that it had concluded an agreement with Belgian company ToyChamp for the acquisition of 75% of Dreamland's shares.
The brand will continue to exist as a legal entity and employer under ToyChamp’s control.
So far, no figures about the transaction, which is expected to take place by the end of the year, have been disclosed.
Dreamland is a chain of toy stores with 48 branches in Belgium, while Dreambaby has around 30 stores. Together, the two chain stores currently employ 1,000 people.
ToyChamp, which was founded in 2001, has nine toy stores in Belgium and 24 in the Netherlands. It employs about 450 people.
Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga