Belgian businesses continue to report turnover losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with their gross sales dropping by 17% in November.
While this was three points higher than in August to September, it was below the huge drop in sales that resulted from the Spring lockdown, according to the Economic Risk Management Group (ERMG).
Businesses polled said they expected an average drop of 12% in turnover in 2021, and they continue to be worried. At 6.9 out of 10, concern among businesses is comparable to levels reached during the first lockdown, with the outlook remaining gloomy with regard to investment and jobs.
Moreover, while, in October, 8% of businesses felt they would probably go bankrupt in the next few weeks or months, in November, 12% see this as probable or highly probable.
The ERMG noted, in its the 15th survey since March, that regional differences in the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on businesses have been reduced, but the impact was still highest in Brussels.
Some 5,631 companies and independents responded to the survey, whose results were released on Tuesday.
The sectors worst affected in the Spring again reported the highest turnover losses. “These are the non-food retail sector, real estate, the hospitality industry and the arts, shows and recreational services,” the ERMG noted.
The hospitality industry and the events and recreational sector continue to be hardest hit, with losses estimated at 66% and 77% respectively.
“In these two sectors, this turnover loss is, however, a little lower than in the Spring (especially in the hospitality sector), which perhaps results from more intensive use of online sales and orders,” the ERMG noted.
While the situation is generally less dire in other sectors, their prospects, both for this quarter and for next year, are also dim.