Our home country. And a very sophisticated retail market too.
What have you done in Holland?
Everything you can think of in every retail sector. Supermarkets, department stores, home improvement retailers, fashion chains. But also post offices retail banks and insurers companies. Brand manufacturers, and car brands.
Do you speak the language?
Of course. It’s where we were born. The language in the Netherlands is Dutch. That language is not too distant from German and the Scandinavian countries, which helps us in these languages.
How far along the trends of retail-development is Holland?
The Netherlands is one of the most advanced retail-countries in the world in many retail sectors. In supermarkets Ahold has been leading, in retail banking Postbank was one of the international pioneers in retail banking. Post.nl was the first privatized postal companies in the world, and has developed many new formats, that have become global standard.. Home to international retailers like C&A and Mexx too.
What’s the special challenge for international retailers and suppliers in Holland?
Locations are a very special retail-challenge in this very populated, mostly urbanised country. Hypermarkets, the main retail format in many countries, are non-existent in Holland. Shopping malls are a rarity, the city centre High Streets dominant. Close-by shopping is the rule, many consumers go shopping on their bicycle. Prices are low.
What company would you still like to work for again in this country?
V&D. This department store chain is suffering from the same disease that is wiping out middle-of-the-road department stores world-wide. I’m sure we can bring them our proven capacity for change.
Can you name a project in Holland that you are proud of?
Where to start? We are very proud of the changes that we brought to Postbank and later to ING direct. The way in which we helped Ahold, the international retailers in many projects over the years is something which we look back at with pleasure as well.