The winter sales, extended until 15 February, have been anything but a success, De Zondag newspaper reported on Sunday, based on a poll conducted by two Flemish organisations representing independent businesses, Mode Unie and Unizo.
“We have been receiving many calls from distraught independent businesses. Urgent action is needed,” warned Mode Unie’s director, Isolde Delanghe.
The poll was conducted among 325 clothing retailers. Eight out of every 10 respondents said sales had been lower this season than in normal winters.
The average drop in turnover was 26%, but this figure masks significant disparities, with clothing stores suffering the most, according to Mode Unie.
The Flemish organisation is calling for additional support measures for small businesses, such as financial compensation or a temporary VAT reduction.