The trade is sounding the alarm

The trade is sounding the alarm

Queues in front of supermarkets, empty fashion stores in city centers: the retail sector in germany warns of dramatic consequences of the tightening and extension of the partial lockdown decided by the federal government and the lander. "The big losers are many downtown retailers who lose customers and sales under the corona conditions", complained the chief executive of the trade association of germany (HDE), stefan genth. Instead, more purchases will be made on the internet. Edeka boss markus mosa warned that food retailers would not be able to "meet the high demand, especially in the christmas business" under these conditions.

On wednesday evening, the federal government and the lander decided that the partial lockdown with the closure of restaurants, theaters, gyms and recreational facilities, among other things, would last until the 20th century. December is requested. At the same time, it was decided to tighten the rules for the retail trade.

As a result, fewer customers are allowed to shop at the same time in stores larger than 800 square meters, including virtually all supermarkets.

The trade association is now expecting further sales to migrate to the internet during the all-important christmas shopping season. "Consumers will continue to buy gifts at christmas even in corona times. Under the conditions of the partial lockdown, however, they will probably often prefer to do their shopping online in many sectors", said genth.

Already in the first three weeks of the partial lockdown, sales in city center retailing have slumped by an average of 30 percent compared to the previous year. In the clothing trade, the drop is as much as 40 percent, he said. The extension of the partial lockdown is now expected to result in a further two billion euros ending up in the accounts of online retailers instead of in the coffers of downtown retailers.

Genth insisted on government aid for those affected, given the impact of the federal and state decisions on downtown trade. "Many downtown retailers face insolvency. Now the normally high-turnover christmas business is also collapsing. It can’t be done without government support." While downtown merchants are struggling with a drop in customers, grocers fear just the opposite. Long lines in front of stores and problems to cope with the huge demand before the holidays in the face of government-imposed access restrictions.

Germany’s largest grocer edeka criticized sharply. "We consider the limitation of the number of customers from 800 square meters of sales space counterproductive and incomprehensible", said edeka boss markus mosa. The politicians’ advice that consumers should spread their purchases over the days of the week is not helpful either, because that is what customers have been doing since the first lockdown, said mosa. "Even with a further distribution of customer flows, we could not meet the high demand, especially in the christmas business."

HDE boss genth had also previously warned of queues and stressed that. "This creates new opportunities for infection." Furthermore, the sight of those waiting could give the feeling that the goods were running low and thus headed for new hamster buys.