Belgium has surpassed the 100,000 store mark despite the Covid-19 pandemic. As reported by Retail Detail, more than 6,700 have been added in the past two years.
Though the past two years have been lived in lockdowns and safety precautions, there are now 103,207 stores in Belgium, the highest it has ever been, the national statistics office Statbel told De Standaard. Most of the new stores were garden centres, pet shops, pharmacies and bicycle shops, likely due to more people looking for ways to spend time outdoors.
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However, market vendors and food trucks now occupy a smaller space in the retail sector than before the pandemic, with 763 of them disappearing since 2020.
New store nuances
The majority of these new stores were not brick-and-mortar stores though. Two-thirds of stores that opened during the pandemic were online shops. The number of Internet retailers has increased by more than 50% in these two years, Retail Detail reports.
The number of wine and spirit sellers has doubled. The pandemic has not led to Belgians drinking more though. Rather, it is because French vendors moved to Belgium to escape a French increased 33% tax on spirits, while it was 21% in Belgium.