Belgians visit shopping centres less due to Covid-19, but buy more

Belgians visit shopping centres less due to Covid-19, but buy more
Credit: Pxfuel

7.4 million shoppers paid a visit to local shopping centres in June, which is a 23.9% decrease in comparison to 2019, the Belgian Luxembourg Council of Retail and Shopping Centers (BLSC) reports.

A leading cause for the decrease is the pandemic. Shoppers who did venture into stores were found to buy more items on average, with the majority of purchases made out of necessity and not for ‘fun’.

Until the end of June, shoppers were not allowed to enter stores in groups with family or friends, which could be a reason for the decrease. The numbers have continued to rise since May when shops were first allowed to reopen. May 2020 saw a decrease of 35.08% of shoppers relative to May 2019.

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“There was targeted shopping, shopping for fun was no longer there,” the general manager of BLSC, Luc Plasman, said.

Last Saturday, the Belgian federal government made it compulsory for customers to wear masks in shops and shopping centres. Shoppers who do not oblige risk a fine of €250 for a first offence, and can be given a fine of up to €4000 or a jail sentence varying from three days to eight months for any further cases of non-compliance.

Amée Zoutberg
The Brussels Times

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