VBK management takes over Bruna

VBK Beheer is the new owner of the Bruna retail chain. The publishing group has immediately taken over the shares in the retail chain from PostNL and ING, which is subject to approval by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets. As a result, VBK Beheer has adjusted its structure and name and continues as the Shared Stories Group. Meanwhile, Bruna will have its own identity after the merger.

The new group is made up of Bruna, VBK Publishing Group and Bookchoice. According to group management, these brands fit well together.

“Our publishers’ mission is to connect authors with readers. The authors are the source of amazing books, and publishers support the authors’ work and bring their books to the market. The connection with readers is becoming increasingly important, and both the physical book trade and the digital world play a role. Therefore, the addition of Bruna to the group is very important and a positive development for the book trade. It fits perfectly with our current activities and with the direction we are headed.”

Wiet de Bruijn, General Director of Shared Stories Group

Working together
Bruna is an established Dutch brand with huge name recognition, thanks largely to the presence of their physical stores. Often, they personally know their customers, which creates a strong connection to the book chain. After the proposed takeover, Bruna’s stores and head office can benefit from market knowledge within the Shared Stories Group, as well as cooperation in areas such as IT and HR.

In addition, the Group has identified valuable opportunities to strengthen Bruna as an omnichannel player. Their aim is to improve the customer experience, whether people makes purchases in store or online. The chain can also take advantage of the experience available in the Shared Stories Group, which is also willing to invest in Bruna.

“Our new shareholder offers us immediate prospects and that inspires confidence, which I’ve seen reflected in the positive reactions within Bruna. It’s very positive to know we are going to hear from a company that moves in the same marketplace as we do, and has the same DNA. We remain independent in our business operations, but the strength of the Group will soon also shine on Bruna. In addition, we also continue to enjoy strong partnerships with PostNL in the field of PostNL Post and Parcel Points and with ING, at the ING Service Points.”

George Steur, General Manager Bruna

When the new owner took over, there weren’t any changes made to Bruna’s variety of products. In addition to books, they continue to sell magazines, paper and stationery products, office supplies, greeting and gift cards, and multimedia items.

In spring 2018, Bruna implemented a new strategy that General Manager Steur had been developing since his appointment the previous September. After two years of losses, the focus has been to improve 2017 operating results, which was accomplished with cost-saving measures and optimizing Bruna’s internal processes. Now his focus is on the customer experience and to better align the variety of products and services to match customer needs. This strategy will provide a strong boost to operational results in 2018 and beyond.

Read more on NRC, Nu.nl and NOS.