Clothes retailer Bjorn Borg to close most Dutch outlets

AMSTERDAM, Sept 26 Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:25am EDT

AMSTERDAM, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Swedish clothing retailer Bjorn Borg said on Thursday the majority of its 24 Dutch stores will close because they had underperformed in the country's ongoing recession.

The company, named after the former Swedish tennis star, said nothing about job losses at the stores, operated by an independent distributor, in a statement posted on its website.

Arthur Engel, chief executive of Bjorn Borg, said this "is a result of a tough macroeconomic situation in the Netherlands", where retail performance was among the lowest in EU countries in early 2013.

While other core EU members have returned to slight economic growth this year, the Netherlands continues to contract, hurt by a deep property slump and declining consumer spending.

Bjorn Borg, best known for its fashion underwear, also makes fragrances, luggage and eyewear. It said the closures will reduce annual consolidated sales by approximately 3-4 percent.

Group net sales amounted to 551 million Swedish Krona (63 million euros) in 2012. The move is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2013. (Reporting By Anthony Deutsch; editing by David Evans)

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