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The Living sector as a whole showed a plus for the first time in seven years in 2014. The growth rate for the full year increased by 5% over 2013 (like-for-like figures). This growth was driven by the double-digit growth in the kitchen and parquet flooring business (source: INretail).

Data supplied by the Central Bureau of Statistics in the Netherlands (CBS) shows that the Dutch market for home furnishing stores as a whole (like-for-like figures) fell by 0.1% in 2014. In the Netherlands, Leen Bakker slightly outpaced the market. All Leen Bakker stores in the Benelux market together showed stable sales of - 0.4% in the past financial year. 

Many home furnishings retailers are struggling to keep afloat. High vacancy rates at home furnishing centres, higher rents, diversification and the growing popularity of used goods are just a few of the contributing factors. Competitive advantage in this sector is therefore vital. A satisfying customer experience, for example, will attract customers to both the physical and online stores. Leen Bakker fully updated its retail concept in 2014 for this reason, including the introduction of a new logo, additional services and white-label (furniture) brands. The information available in the webshop has also been improved. The stores which have been fully converted based on the new retail concept have shown much stronger sales growth than both the other Leen Bakker stores and the market as a whole.