The court in Amsterdam has declared Big Bazar bankrupt. The bargain chain was struggling with financial problems and received more and more complaints about unpaid bills. On Monday, Big Bazar made one last rescue attempt in the court in Leeuwarden, but it failed.
The court in Leeuwarden refused for the third time on Monday to appoint a debt expert to help the company out of its financial problems. Bankruptcy applications were then processed again on Tuesday.
Big Bazar has been in this situation twice before and both times a request to appoint a debt expert was submitted just before the deadline. As a result, the applications for bankruptcy were repeatedly put on hold. In total, more than thirty bankruptcy applications were filed against Big Bazar.
Last summer, the bargain chain, founded in 2007, reported that it was in financial trouble. According to Big Bazar, this was due to the significant price increases in the shopping street, which caused customers to spend less. Many bills have not been paid recently, to the annoyance of landlords of retail properties and suppliers. The mountain of debt rose to several tens of millions of euros.
For a long time, CEO Heerke Kooistra hoped to avert bankruptcy by closing loss-making stores. Big Bazar was often forced to leave a store after lawsuits due to rent arrears.
No wages paid
For the approximately 1,300 employees, the bankruptcy means the end of their jobs. It was also announced on Tuesday that Big Bazar could not immediately pay wages for September, although the company promised to do so on Monday. According to the store chain’s lawyer, the payment of salaries just before an expected bankruptcy could be interpreted as a prohibited favoritism for one group of creditors at the expense of others.
Joost Konings of debt collection agency Invoeringsbedrijf, who speaks on behalf of several creditors of Big Bazar, is critical of the attempts to avert bankruptcy. “You can ask yourself how far you as a defaulter can go when using legal remedies just to stretch things out. Creditors have become the victims.”
Erik Maas, director of CNV Vakmensen, also responds to the bankruptcy: “This is tough news, but at least there is clarity. Because of all the yo-yoing in recent weeks, we were very concerned about the people at Big Bazar. We also have great respect for employees who had to answer all the difficult questions from customers in the stores. Now that the sword of Damocles has fallen, that is no longer necessary. We can focus as quickly as possible on guidance to new work and the step to the UWV.”
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