Rotterdam joins Amsterdam in freezing new ‘dark shops’

The city of Rotterdam has said it will freeze the introduction of any further ‘black shops’ – small distribution centers in the city used as hubs for on-demand grocery services like Getir, Gorillas – for a year. , Flink, Zapp and others.

The move follows a similar decision from Amsterdam last week as residents of the city fend off nuisance from services that promise delivery in 10 minutes or less. These have multiplied in major cities across Europe since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everyone knows them by now: darkened windows, traffic disruption in shopping streets, loading noise, reckless bike deliverers and nuisance from waiting drivers,” Rotterdam city councilor Roos Vermeij said in a statement.

“There’s nothing wrong in principle with fast delivery, but the way it’s done in practice is really irritating.”

The city estimated there were 31 dark shops within its boundaries, and Rotterdam said on Thursday it had 13 “and rapidly growing”, all established in the past half-year.

A city spokesperson said existing stores would not be required to close.

Response from service providers

“Since the launch in the Netherlands last year, the reception we have received has been overwhelmingly positive,” Briton Zapp said in an email response.

Turkey’s Getir said in a message that the company was sorry to learn of Rotterdam’s decision.

“We have created more than 1,500 full-time jobs in the Netherlands alone,” a Getir spokesperson said.

“We carefully choose the location of our stores and deliver with 100% electric vehicles, without creating any nuisance.”

A spokesman for Berlin-based Gorillas, which has 2,000 Dutch employees, said the company was surprised by the decision and intended to engage in talks with the cities to resolve the complaints.

Germany’s Flink did not immediately respond to request for comment, but said after Amsterdam’s decision he would work with authorities and noted that his service benefits local entrepreneurs who use his platform as a means of deliver goods.

News by Reuters, edited by ESM. For more retail news, click here. Click subscribe to register ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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David A. Albanese