Record number of Belgian companies suspend activities this year

Some 100,000 Belgian companies are expected to cease operations this year. So writes Trends magazine based on its calculations. This would be a record, which hits the food and retail sectors especially hard.

Trends Business Information (TBI) already counted 75,000 business closures for the first ten months. "There is every reason to believe that the 100,000 mark will be crossed this year," it said Thursday. The closures occur in all regions, with over 28 per cent more closures for Flanders than in 2021.

Among the hardest hit sectors are food, including restaurants, telecoms and retail, which has collapsed with more than 8,000 business closures since the beginning of the year, Trends said. "That sector was already weakened by the growth of e-commerce (...) On top of that came energy prices and wage and rent indexation," Edward Roosens, chief economist at the FEB, told Trends. He fears "a snowball effect" in cities.

Of the businesses trying to keep going, many partially quit. A survey by the National Bank (NBB) shows that a third is reducing production or services to avoid a significant loss of profitability. Smaller companies, in particular, can't pass on higher costs.

For 2023, there are both pessimistic and hopeful signs, Trends writes. More fixed energy contracts are expiring, and wage indexation is quietly making itself felt everywhere. On the other hand, there are still more start-ups (108,000 in the first ten months), and some sectors are doing very well, such as real estate, healthcare or scientific activities. According to the bankruptcy rate, companies are also no more vulnerable than in the past.


© BELGA PHOTO Thierry Roge

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels