Ab Blokker says goodbye to ‘his’ Casa stores
The unimaginable has happened after all: Ab Blokker (75) has let go of his Casa. A press release appeared on Thursday stating that the Blokker family is selling its “entire interest” in the Casa store chain to the Amsterdam investment company Globitas and its management. An acquisition price has not been disclosed. Casa has about five hundred stores in eight countries and has 3,200 employees.
Casa was regarded as Ab Blokker’s ‘baby’. Together with his older brother, the late Jaap Blokker, Ab built up a retail empire in the last century. Blokker Holding eventually had more than three thousand stores and consisted of countless formulas: in addition to the household store chain Blokker, these included Leen Bakker, Xenos, Big Bazar, Intertoys, Bart Smit and Marskramer.
The Belgian furniture store chain Casa was acquired more than thirty years ago, in 1988, by the Blokker brothers and after Blokker was by far the largest and certainly the most international store chain within the holding.
It was Ab Blokker who took care of Casa – a goodies store, similar to Xenos – from the start. The division of roles within the group was clear: Jaap was in charge in the Netherlands and was the face of the outside world, Ab interfered with purchasing and focused on Belgium.
Ab’s love for Casa went so far that when he switched from the board of directors of Blokker Holding to the supervisory board in 2014, he had Casa deconsolidated: the part was detached from the parent company and no longer counted in the results. . Ab wanted to continue to run Casa and as a commissioner that was not possible.
After years of multi-million dollar losses and hassle within the family business, the Blokker family – that is, Ab Blokker and his sister-in-law Els, because Jaap had passed away in 2011 – decided to dismantle the company. That was in 2016. With the sale of Casa, that operation is now almost complete: almost all chains have new owners.
Xenos turned out to be more difficult to sell at the time, but something was also thought of: the Blokker family took over one store chain, Xenos, with the other, Casa. All 110 Xenos stores would be converted into Casas. A year later this plan was abandoned again for unclear reasons, Xenos remained Xenos. And while Ab’s darling Casa faces the future under Globitas, Xenos remains in the ownership of Ab Blokker and his company Nieuwgeluk Beheer.