The period of winter sales in Belgium will start on Monday 4 January 2021, not on Saturday 2 January, according to Federal Economy Minister Jean-Pierre Dermagne.
By allowing the sales period to start on a weekday instead of the usual Saturday, Dermagne hopes to avoid large crowds of shoppers.
A longer delay, as was requested by the independent fashion shops, will therefore not take place. Sector federation ModeUnie, which represents the independent fashion shops, is disappointed that the sales period has not been postponed for a month.
According to director Isolde Delanghe, the crowds will not be less, but the financial consequences for the self-employed will be enormous.
“I fear that many chains will already start with some promotions over the weekend, and on Sunday 3 January, the shops will be open, in many cities,” Delanghe told Het Nieuwsblad. “The problem of the crowds will not be avoided.”
ModeUnie also stressed that the decision will bring deep red figures to independent fashion shops. “They now have four weeks to sell 50% of their winter stock at normal prices, which is going to be extremely difficult,” Delanghe said.
“We had advocated postponing sales to 1 February, but unfortunately this was not listened to,” she added.
The traditional period preceding sales, in which all discounts are banned, will start on Wednesday. During this period, traders are forbidden to announce discounts on clothing, shoes and leather goods. As this year’s sales start a few days later, the period is also a little longer.