Independent store owners in Brussels and Wallonia appear optimistic once again, four days from the start of the summer sales on 1 July, according to a new survey by the Union des Classes Moyennes (UCM), released on Sunday.
It is important to keep providing these businesses, which suffered economic losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with financial support, noted UCM, which represents the interests of small, medium-sized businesses and self-employed people.
A first UCM survey, done in April among business owners, showed a reduction by over 10% in both customer traffic and gross turnover, and many feared that their stores would not survive the pandemic.
A few weeks later, more than half of the entrepreneurs see the spectre of closure as a little less threatening, according to the new UCM survey, which focuses specifically on summer sales.
A bit over four business owners out of ten (42.38%) say today that they no longer envisage a disastrous scenario, something six out of ten of them predicted in April last.
However, the Covid-19 crisis has not benefitted most businesses. Just one out of every ten store owners saw both their turnover and customer numbers increase.
Additionally, while the summer 2021 sales will have a greater quantity of stock (over 20% more in some cases), and 30% reductions from Day 1, business owners have preferred not to emphasise promotions, joint bargains, or any other means of reducing stock, UCM found.
This has prompted the organisation to recall the importance of continuing to assist the independent businesses and “remain at the bedside of a multitude of professions caught up in the economic storm.”
To this end, the UCM presented the government with a proposed reform of the ‘droit passerelle,’ a mechanism aimed at cushioning the effects of the pandemic on small businesses, independents and wage earners.
“These measures need to remain available as part of a transition towards overcoming the crisis in a simplified and equitable manner,” the UCM noted.
About two out of ten traders feel they still need assistance to the sum of 5,000 to 10,000 euros to recover from the crisis.