Number of vacant stores in Dutch shopping streets declines for third year in row

The number of vacant stores in the Dutch shopping streets has declined for the third consecutive year in 2017. At the end of 2017, the vacancy rate was 7.0%, which is 0.2% lower than at the beginning of that year.


Amsterdam's Kalverstraat, the Netherlands' busiest shopping street - Photo: Wikimedia

In square meters, the number of vacant stores shows an even bigger decrease, 0.6%. This means that 200,000 m2 less vacant stores on 31 December 2017, compared to a year earlier, reports Dutch market research company, Locatus. According to Locatus, the decline is a result of the fact that certain buildings that once housed the bankrupt department store V&D have been repurposed. An example of this is the Almere branch of Hudson’s Bay, which is situated in a former V&D building, amongst many other branches of the Canadian department store chain that entered the Dutch market in 2017.

According to the Locatus report, store vacancies are highest in the city centers of medium-sized cities. Medium-sized Dutch cities include Zoetermeer, Alkmaar, Haarlem, Zwolle and Maastricht. There is still not much recovery to be seen in these places. The greatest recovery can be seen in the city centers of the larger cities of the Netherlands, including such places as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Eindhoven and The Hague. In the 17 largest cities in the Netherlands, the number of vacancies has reached almost the same level as before the crisis.

In addition, the report shows that of the number of stores that were vacant last year, fifteen percent has now been demolished or repurposed; another fifteen percent now functions as a retail space; and ten percent now serves as food or drink establishments. Sixty percent of the buildings are still empty. 

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