Spanish department store El Corte Inglés is in dire straits

by Lorraine Williamson
El Corte Inglés

MADRID – Which regular visitor to Spain doesn’t know them? The department stores of El Corte Inglés. After a Christmas campaign marked by the absence of customers in shopping centres across the country, the department store chain is facing a difficult year. 

At the same time, Amazon has been able to beat market forecasts in the fourth quarter and billed 9% more than the previous year. Aliexpress and chains such as Mediamarkt also improved their results again. 

El Corte Inglés faces a complicated 2023, taking into account the national economic situation and the management problems caused by the departure of Victor del Pozo. The former CEO was in charge of the company for five years. Moreover, rising inflation in January is not helping consumption. What worries the managers of the Spanish trading giant, according to Spanish media, is the impossibility of attracting new audiences. 

According to Hispanidad, the stores are empty. In addition, it is a problem that online sales are still far from the company’s objectives. That, according to Hispanidad, sees with amazement how Amazon, Aliexpress and other giants are getting further and further away. 

The subsidiaries in the field of telecommunications and energy are also not functioning. The same goes for once profitable segments like the travel agency El Corte Inglés Viajes. That is now slowly being “dismantled due to malnutrition”, as noted by the medium mentioned above. 

Cogesa Expats

Offers have little effect 

In terms of technology, El Corte Inglés is launching a weekend in which customers do not have to pay VAT without much repercussion. The buyer profile of this type of product prefers other giants, such as Mediamarkt, PC Componentes or Amazon, whose sales figures continue to grow. 

Employees fear for their jobs 

According to recently published data, Amazon’s turnover reached €149 billion. Nevertheless the company wants to lay off 18,000 employees to adapt to the new economic situation. In the case of El Corte Inglés, workers also fear that there will be cuts in the workforce. 

A week ago it was announced that the company plans to “robotise” logistics centres in an atempt to reduce the high costs. Many Spanish media are silent about the precarious situation of the company because, despite the crisis, it is still one of the largest advertisers in the country. 

Also read: Inditex opens worlds largest Lefties store in Madrid

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