HBC (TSX: HBC) today announced that HBC Netherlands BV will close its 15 Hudson's Bay stores, e-commerce site and headquarters in the Netherlands on or before December 31, 2019.
Hudson's Bay Netherlands is owned by a retail joint venture of SIGNA Retail Holdings and HBC, comprising German, Belgium and Netherlands operations. The closure of the Netherlands stores is not expected to have any impact on the day-to-day operations of the Hudson's Bay business in Canada.
As part of HBC's agreement with SIGNA to divest its interest in the European retail joint venture, Hudson's Bay Netherlands is expected to transfer wholly to HBC, upon the transaction's closing, which is anticipated to occur during the fall of 2019.
The Hudson's Bay Netherlands management team worked intensively on a social plan, and have come to an agreement with local unions to offer solutions for employees impacted by the closure.
HBC is a diversified retailer focused on driving the performance of high-quality stores and their omni-channel platforms and unlocking the value of real estate holdings. Founded in 1670, HBC is the oldest company in North America. HBC's portfolio today includes formats ranging from luxury to premium department stores to off price fashion shopping destinations, with more than 300 stores and about 40,000 employees around the world. HBC's leading businesses across North America include Saks Fifth Avenue, Hudson's Bay, Lord + Taylor, and Saks OFF 5TH.
HBC also has significant investments in joint ventures. It has partnered with Simon Property Group Inc. in the HBS Joint Venture, which owns properties in the United States. In Canada, it has partnered with RioCan Real Estate Investment Trustin the RioCan-HBC Joint Venture. HBC has partnered with SIGNA Retail Holdings for real estate and retail joint ventures in Europe.
Certain statements made in this news release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws, including, the anticipated closure of HBC's Netherlands stores, e-commerce site and headquarters and timing thereof, the anticipated closing of the European transaction and timing thereof, and other statements that are not material facts. Often but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as 'may', 'will', 'expect', 'believe', 'estimate', 'plan', 'could', 'should', 'would', 'outlook', 'forecast', 'anticipate', 'foresee', 'continue' or the negative of these terms or variations of them or similar terminology.
Although HBC believes that the forward-looking statements in this news release are based on information and assumptions that are current, reasonable and complete, these statements are by their nature subject to a number of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from management's expectations and plans as set forth in such forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, the following factors, many of which are beyond HBC's control and the effects of which can be difficult to predict: (a) the ability to obtain the required consents and/or approvals, or otherwise successfully complete the European transaction on the anticipated timeline; (b) the ability to realize the expected benefits from the closure of HBC's Netherlands business; (c) the potential future guarantee obligations of HBC with respect to the leases of Hudson's Bay Netherlands; (d) credit, market, currency, operational, real estate, liquidity and funding risks generally, including changes in economic conditions, interest rates or tax rates; (e) risks and uncertainties relating to information management, technology, supply chain, product safety, changes in law, competition, seasonality, commodity price and business and (f) other risks inherent to the Company's business and/or factors beyond its control which could have a material adverse effect on the Company.
HBC cautions that the foregoing list of important factors and assumptions is not exhaustive and other factors could also adversely affect its results. For more information on the risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause HBC's actual results to differ from current expectations, please refer to the 'Risk Factors' sections of HBC's Annual Information Form dated May 3, 2019 and Management's Discussion and Analysis dated September 12, 2019 as well as HBC's other public filings, available at www.sedar.com and at www.hbc.com.
The forward-looking statements contained in this news release describe HBC's expectations at the date of this news release and, accordingly, are subject to change after such date. Except as may be required by applicable Canadian securities laws, HBC does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements contained in this news release, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.