Schoenen Torfs, a Flemish retailer specializing in medium-priced branded footwear, is recruiting scores of employees as it embarks on a major round of new store openings. The retailer currently has 40 stores spread all around Flanders, which reaped sales of €44.3 million last year, but it intends to open another 10 over the next 3 years to cover the entire Flemish market.
The company was established in Lier back in 1948 by Louis and Jeanne Torfs and it started expanding under the second generation of Torfs two decades later. However, the growth accelerated under the next generation, which doubled sales over the last 5 years. The retailer sells mostly branded shoes like Geox, Clarks and Esprit, with the Torfs Collection private label making up just 15 percent of its offering.
Torfs, which currently has 400 people on its payroll and received a prestigious award as best Flemish employer last year, aims to recruit 100 more people. The need for fresh staff also arises from organic growth, as same-store sales increased by 17 percent last year, and by another 15 percent this year until May. Part of the rise was attributed to improvements in store presentation and locations.
Based in Sint Niklaas, the company is controlled by 4 separate branches of the Torfs family. Wouter Torfs, the general manager, is backed up by two cousins : Karla van Orshaegen, head buyer, and Barbara Torfs, in charge of marketing.