Three-quarters of Belgian independent retailers fear bankruptcy

Three-quarters of Belgian independent retailers fear bankruptcy
Rue Neuve in Brussels. Credit: Belga / Virginie Lefour

More than three in four independent retailers in Belgium fear that they will become bankrupt over the coming months, Belga News Agency reports.

A survey of 500 Walloon and Brussels-based retailers of clothes, personal care products, and decorative wear found that almost two-thirds (64.2%) had seen their turnover decline over the previous six months; 76.1% claimed that the survival of their business will depend on the success of next year's winter sales, which are set to begin on 3 January. (For comparison, only 5.2% of independent vendors reported that they were in danger of bankruptcy in the winter of 2019.)

Shopkeepers attributed their decline to multiple factors, including soaring energy bills, government-mandated wage indexations of employees, inflation, the increasing popularity of online shopping, and global geopolitical tensions.

The study, carried out by the Union of Middle Classes (UCM), also found that to save on energy costs, 75% of shops have reduced their heating while 66% have switched off their outdoor lighting.

Related News

Another recent poll of 200 small and medium-sized Belgian vendors conducted by the Neutral Union for Independents (SNI) discovered a similar level of desperation. In particular, the SNI noted that four in five retailers plan to discount their excess stock by at least 30% in the upcoming winter sales (up from 69% last year). One in five businesses will reduce prices by 50% on all their products.

"More than half of the stores (58%) still have 40% or more of their products on the shelves," the SNI noted in a press release. "They also do not expect a fantastic end of the year to empty their stocks."

Copyright © 2024 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.