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Netherlands has more shops for first time in years

Christian Fernsby |
On 1 January 2022, there were 83.8 thousand physical shops in the Netherlands, 655 more than one year previously.

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This means that the number of brick-and-mortar businesses has risen for the first time since 2010. The food sector saw an increase in particular, while the sharpest decline was seen among bookshops. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on new, provisional figures.

Despite the slight year-on-year increase of 0.7 percent, the number of physical shops on 1 January 2022 was over 13 thousand lower than at the peak in 2010. Relative to 1 January 2020, just before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of retail outlets did decline slightly (by 0.4 percent). Just as in 2020, the number of webshops rose substantially again in 2021, by 28 percent.

Clothes shops are the largest group by far, accounting for over 16 percent of all physical shops on 1 January 2022. This share did decline slightly relative to 1 January 2020 (17 percent). After clothes shops, shops selling other household goods and supermarkets are highest in number. Both hold a share of nearly 8 percent.

The increase in the number of shops was mainly due to the rising number of shops in the food sector (+3.4 percent). The number of shops in the non-food sector remained virtually unchanged.

Shops selling bread, pastries and confectionery products saw the highest increase: +4.7 percent. Supermarkets and shops selling other food products followed (both +4.4 percent). The number of bookshops and shops selling magazines and stationery declined most sharply, by 8.1 and 7.0 percent respectively.

The decline in the number of bookshops in 2021 was more substantial than in the three preceding years combined.

The number of retail outlets increased in 57 percent of the municipalities last year. In percentage terms, the increase was largest in Vlieland (+18.2 percent), followed by Bergen (Limburg) and Renswoude (+17.5 and +15.8 percent, respectively).

Oostzaan (-9.4 percent) and Lopik (-8.8 percent) recorded the largest decrease.

Among the twenty largest municipalities, the number of shops grew most sharply in Haarlemmermeer (+4.3 percent) and Nijmegen (+2.5 percent). ’s-Hertogenbosch saw the sharpest drop (-1.2 percent).

On a provincial level, growth was strongest in Zuid-Holland (+1.5 percent) and Overijssel (+1.2 percent). Groningen was the only province where the number of retail outlets fell (-0.7 percent).


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