HEMA fears it will not survive a protracted corona crisis. In the Netherlands, the chain already saw turnover shrink by a third, while some two hundred foreign branches even had to be closed. That is why the department store is taking measures such as partially deducting the rent, Financieele Dagblad ( FD ) writes on Wednesday based on internal communication.

Last week, HEMA CEO Tjeerd Jegen wrote a letter to landlords, which is in the hands of the newspaper. He writes in this that the continuation of the company "in the foreseeable future" would be at stake if the current decline in turnover continues.

Jegen informs the landlords that Hema will only transfer half of the rent for April and May. In total, the chain of rent is about 13 million euros per month.

Staff are also called upon. For example, the planned periodic salary increase is postponed in consultation with the unions, and employees no longer receive a fixed travel allowance. From now on they have to declare their trips, and only get those costs back.

According to the FD , HEMA will also make use of government schemes that pay companies up to 90 percent in their wage costs. About nine thousand of the chain's total of eleven thousand employees work in the Netherlands.

High debts have haunted HEMA for some time

The retail chain has been financially unhealthy for some time. For example, the company is struggling with high debts, which do not seem to be repaid. Last December, rating agency Moody's lowered HEMA's rating for the same reason, predicting that the chain would face a tough time at the time.