The new coronavirus also thoroughly disrupted shopping life. The start of the bargains was delayed by a month after the lockdown with weeks of closure of the non-food stores. Retailers were given an extra month to sell their stocks, before everything officially declines from 1 August. In addition, the stricter rules that have been back in place since Wednesday. For example, you can no longer shop together and the shopping time is limited to half an hour per store.
ModeUnie, the organization of independent fashion traders at business organization Unizo, is already asking for more relaxation. Shopping with people in the bubble should still be possible for the organization. Public health is a priority, it seems, but there must be a balance with economic viability. “We do not see why you can consume something with your bubble in the catering industry, but why you cannot go to the fashion store with your partner or someone from your bubble without making an appointment in advance,” says Isolde Delanghe of ModeUnie. The consumer prefers not to shop alone, she concludes.
Hoping for “boost” for sector
Trade federation Comeos, which represents the larger chains, counts on the citizenship so that everyone respects the rules – mouth mask, hand gel etc. One and a half billion euros has so far been lost in the fashion chains. “The sales are crucial this year, because there is a lot of unsold stock due to the lockdown and the lower turnover figures during the restart,” said fashion sector manager Kathy Bergen earlier this week. She hopes that the start of the sales “can give the sector another boost”. In June, sales had already increased to 81.4 percent of sales twelve months earlier, but in July there was another sharp drop to 59 percent.
The independent fashion retailers are also looking forward to the start of the bargains, although they fear that the sales will not save. In a market survey by ModeUnie, 87 percent of the fashion retailers surveyed indicated that they expect worse sales than a year ago, 12 percent expect the same turnover as in 2019.
Pick up summer season
“There are still a lot of summer items available and on average, fashion retailers start with a discount of 35 to 40 percent, which is slightly more than usual,” Isolde Delanghe said earlier this week. “But the loss of this summer season now making up for the sales is impossible anyway.” The independent fashion stores sold 40 percent less this summer season, the survey learned.
And then there is Antwerp, where the rules are even stricter because of the number of infections. Self-employed organization NSZ expects more than half fewer shoppers because a few days before the start of the sales, the authorities advised against going to Antwerp.