Megapool’s workers told to stay home
5 April 2004
AMSTERDAM — Megapool’s 1,100 employees were told to stay at home on Monday as the struggling Dutch electronics retailer closed its stores prior to gaining a court stay on debt repayments.
Staff were informed by courier on Sunday that they would not be required to work the following day. Many employees have complained of what they described as the company’s “inhumane” treatment, public news service NOS reported.
The firm applied was granted a stay on repayments by Zutphen Court on Monday. It is experiencing financial difficulty due in part to stiff competition in the electronics sector. Profit margins are not high either in the electronics sector, adding extra pressure on business results, the company said.
The board of directors also claims consumer confidence in the company has been negatively affected due to recent media reports. “Turnover has therefore declined considerably.”
Several suppliers have refused to continue supplying goods to Megapool and have shortened the terms of payment, news agency ANP reported.
Megapool’s 79 outlets in the Netherlands closed on Monday and a total of 16 shops in Belgium were also shut. Additional security personnel have been posted to these stores. Some 47 franchise outlets remain open.
Dutch trade union FNV Bondgenoten blamed the company’s financial problems on the board of directors, claiming no real decisions regarding company policy had been taken in the past six months.
The union also said Megapool was suffering as supermarkets and chemists were also selling computers, digital cameras and DVD players.
Megapool’s board of directors is examining whether the company can restart operations and it is reportedly locked in talks with several other parties in the retail sector. Megapool also said the franchise stores are prepared to swap to a new business formula.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news