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|Founded||1 July 2013, from a merger between Selexyz bookshop chain and De Slegte discount and second hand bookshop chain|
|Defunct||7 February, 2014|
|Headquarters||Netherlands and Belgium|
Number of locations
Polare was a bookstore chain, formerly operating in the Netherlands and Belgium. Polare was created by combining the former Selexyz (previously Boekhandels Groep Nederland/BGN) and De Slegte chains; the chain's new name was introduced in June 2013.
Selexyz was, until 2012, one of the larger chains of bookstores in the Netherlands, running 16 branches in Dutch cities, including historic bookstores such as Donner in Rotterdam, one of Europe's largest bookstores; and the Domicanen in Maastricht, located in a 13th-century Dominican church building and cited as an outstanding example of adaptive reuse. The official company name was "selexyz boekhandels bv". It was formerly known as "Boekhandels Groep Nederland" (BGN). Until 2006 all BGN bookstores carried their own name, in combination with the old BGN-logo. Every store was rebranded to carry the selexyz brandname followed by its individual name, for example, selexyz scheltema.
In April 2012, Selexyz's holding company filed for bankruptcy and then sold the chain to Dutch investment company ProCures for €3.5 million. The Selexyz operations were then combined with those of the 26-store second hand book store chain De Slegte into a new company, to be owned 60% by ProCures and 40% by the De Slegte family.
The combined company's new name, Polare, was introduced in June 2013. The Polare-name is an abbreviation from Stella Polare, the Northern Star, which was thought up as being a "guiding light" for the book-buying customers.
On January 28, 2014, Polare closed all its Dutch stores after having sailed into rough financial waters; as they -roughly translated- put it themselves, to "re-assess their future strategy". No Dutch Polare store has been open for the public since. On February 7, Polare filed for an extension of payment, in all likelihood eventually leading to bankruptcy. Extensive talks with several large banks and the CB, formerly called Centraal Boekhuis, resulted in green light from some of the banks; but the CB (supplying every single Dutch bookstore) already had come into conflict with Polare about overdue payments in late January, and they effectively blocked the salvation-effort of the Polare-chain.
Limited scale restart
Some of the Dutch stores restarted under previous names at old or new locations. The Belgian branches of Polare continued as De Slegte.
In 2016 there are 4 De Slegte bookstores in Belgium (Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven, and Mechelen) and one store in the Netherlands (Leiden).
- Anja Sieg, "Dutch book chain Selexyz files for bankruptcy", The Bookseller, March 29, 2012.
- Sean Dodson, "Top shelves", The Guardian, January 11, 2008.
- "Selexyz Dominicanen opens in Maastricht", Crossroads Magazine, November 20, 2006.
- Anja Sieg, "ProCures buys Selexyz bookshops", The Bookseller, April 10, 2012.
- "Boekhandels Selexyz en De Slegte heten voortaan Polare", NU.nl, June 21, 2013 (in Dutch).