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Police called out as bargain-hunters crowd Brantano stores
Shoe retailer Brantano has reinforced security at its stores after crowds of customers rushed to buy heavily discounted stock as the firm entered administration.
Police were called out to four stores this weekend amid reports of long queues and overcrowding, in breach of the coronavirus restrictions. One shop was ordered to close.
Brantano, which has about 60 outlets around Belgium, has called in administrators to attempt to find a buyer for the troubled shoe chain. It is clearing stock at discounts of up to 75%.
"Sales figures on Saturday were fantastic, but many stores still have a lot to sell," insolvency practitioner Moyersoen said.
The ACV trade union said the administrators had failed to take sufficient measures to manage the surge in customers, and said it was wrong to offer such heavy discounts. "The shops cannot stay open under the current circumstances," union rep Sven De Scheemaeker said.
About three quarters of Brantano's stores have now found a buyer - Dutch brand vanHaren Schoenen - but it is reportedly only interested in the 43 outlets in Flanders and not those in Wallonia.
The stores being sold are likely to change their name. The deal is expected to go through on 1 October and the stock liquidation will continue until then.
Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga