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HBC Opens its First Store Outside of Canada, Despite Investors’ Urges Not To

Hudson’s Bay Company has its eyes set on Europe and its latest expansion could bring it closer to Dutch consumers.

On Tuesday, the Canadian retailer opened its first store in Amsterdam and launched its web shop, HBC announced that nine additional stores will open this month, with the Hudson’s Bay Rotterdam and The Hague locations opening on Sept. 7, the Leiden & Breda stores opening Sept. 12, the Zwolle & Almere locations opening Sept. 20 and the Den Bosch & Tilburg stores opening Sept. 21.

The store openings are expected to bring an new shopping experience to the Netherlands and support HBC’s European growth initiatives. To date, HBC has hired roughly 1,600 employees for its new Netherlands locations and will continue to fill roles as it expands across the nation.

“We are very excited to welcome our guests to this special and new shopping experience–the only national department store in the Netherlands. Our goal is to create memorable moments for our guests, and we will do that with strong brands, local temporary collections and unique food experiences inside beautifully designed stores,” said Jacco van der Steen, director of buying and marketing at Hudson’s Bay in the Netherlands. “And, with our all-channel approach, we will deliver an exceptional online shopping experience as well.”

Catered to Dutch consumers, HBC’s store departments will feature new products, including a mix of more than 100 national and international premium brands, emerging brands and mid-market brands. Notable brands at each location will include CK Jeans, Rika and The Kooples. Limited edition collections will also be available to consumers, including apparel pieces by designer David Laport.

[Read more on HBC’s business efforts: Activist Investor Urges HBC to Redevelop Retail Real Estate]

HBC is stepping up its brick-and-mortar services too. Each store will be equipped with associates that are focused on providing personalized experiences, including tailoring services. Consumers can also use a hassle-free shopping option, where they can scan products and pick them up when they leave the store. For an all-channel experience, HBC created a mobile app for consumers, which provides updates about collections, stores and ongoing promotions. Shoppers can also opt for HBC’s loyalty program and receive rewards for purchases made in stores and online.

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HBC isn’t in the best of standings with Land & Buildings Investment Management, which owns approximately 5 percent of the company. In August, the investment firm appealed to the company to focus on mining the value of its real estate, adding that if they don’t see substantive progress to “close the gap to underlying asset value” the investment firm will call a meeting to remove directors from the company. The investors weren’t keen on the European expansion either, saying that HBC should concentrate on its strength, which is the Canadian market.