ANNUAL REPORT 2014 BLOKKER HOLDING
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Marskramer

FORMAT
Marskramer is a retail chain with 205 stores with an average floor space of 300 square metres specialising in household goods and toys and catering to residential neighbourhoods and villages. Marskramer also operates the soft-franchise formats Novy and Prima and the Groothandel Gouda wholesaler. Established in 1940, Marskramer is part of Blokker Holding since 1993. The retailer is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2015.

Marskramer is a household format for smaller cities, villages and residential neighbourhoods. Like many other retailers, the sales revenues of Marskramer were under pressure in 2014. Toy sales however, remained stable during the year under review, boosted by the Loom bands craze. Marskramer began working even more closely with Blokker in 2014.

NOVY AND PRIMA
The ‘Prima’ label, a shop-in-shop format for smaller independent stores in villages and residential neighbourhoods, was launched in the market in 2014. Several Novy stores were converted into Prima stores and a number of wholesale buyers have been incorporated into Prima. At year-end 2014, there were 25 Novy stores and 12 Prima stores, followed by opening of six additional Prima stores in spring 2015. The total number of wholesale customers fell in 2014. 

CLOSE TO THE CUSTOMER WITH CONTEMPORARY FORMATS
During the year under review Marskramer redesigned several stores in the new style, which was first launched in 2011. The layout of the stores has been improved thanks to a better and clearer arrangement of the product range into core groups and by lowering the sales units. At the end of 2014, a special customer late-opening night was organised for women only under the name ‘Ladies’ night’.

OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE WITH OPEN AND COMMITTED TEAMS
In 2014 Marskramer once again closed several non-profitable stores whose leases were on the verge of expiring. Furthermore, the retailer also agreed on a rent reduction with a large number of lessors. Another example of a cost reduction is a pilot project involving alternative staffing in the mornings at 40 stores. Both the stores and the head office are pleased with the results of this pilot project. The project will be continued for the 40 stores and extended across another 40 stores. 

Various support services for Marskramer, including Purchasing Administration, Finance & Administration, IT, Human Resources and Store Construction, were integrated with Blokker’s services in 2013. Marskramer will be able to strengthen its position thanks to the economies of scale created through this partnership. 

The retailer is also generating more sales from TV adverts at lower costs, through name recognition and promotions. One example is the reward campaign for Blue Band bread boxes, available at Blokker and Marskramer stores. 

Marskramer conducted an Employee Engagement Survey in April 2014. After a detailed analysis, the Marskramer management began taking concrete action and making improvements based on the results of this survey, starting in the second half of 2014. Marskramer holds constructive and open meetings with its employees, the Works Council and the franchise management. Decisions regarding process and organisational changes are made in conjunction with the various parties concerned. 

OUTLOOK AND ACTIVITIES FOR 2015
Marskramer will continue to focus on residential neighbourhoods and villages and will start working even more closely with Blokker. Starting in September 2015, the current Marskramer distribution centre in Gouda will also be used for Blokker’s e-commerce fulfilment. From 2016, the Marskramer stores will be stocked by the Blokker distribution centre; by then, the Gouda distribution centre will be fully dedicated to e-commerce operations for Blokker.

MARSKRAMER’S 75TH ANNIVERSARY
Marskramer will be celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2015 and we fully intend to commemorate this special occasion. One of the activities we organised is the ‘Anniversary Late Opening’ held in spring 2015.



Poster commemorating Marskramer’s 75th anniversary.

Marskramer in Gouda Goverwelle.

Promotional item Marskramer.