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Parliament agrees to consider extending January sales

© Belga

The federal parliament has unanimously agreed to take time to discuss a proposal to extend the January sales period by two weeks, to help reduce the crowds during the normal sales period.

The sales started this year on Monday 4 January, slightly delayed from the normal 2 January start, so as to avoid large crowds on the first day, which was also the last day of the Christmas-New Year holiday.

Now Daniel Ducarme (MR), former minister for small businesses, has tabled a motion to extend the sales period by two weeks, from 1 to 15 February.

This is an option I wanted to put on the table,” he said. “I see it above all as an opportunity for the economy committee to immediately consider this proposal, as soon as representatives of the sector such as UCM, Unizo, SNI or Comeos ask for it.”

Comeos, the retail trade federation, immediately backed the idea, posting on Twitter, “Good proposal from @ducarmedenis Extending the sales would make it possible to spread out purchases even more, and therefore guarantee the safety of customers. Another advantage: it would allow the stocks of winter clothing to be sold off.”

Earlier this month, at the start of the sales, Comeos members declared themselves satisfied with the turnout.

This is completely normal for a Monday, just after the Christmas holidays,” said Kathy Bergen, sector manager for fat Comeos. “Our retailers are pleased with the turnout, although they expect more bargain hunters on Saturday.

Shopping streets and shops in the outer communes were doing relatively better than shopping centres, she reported, while online sales were going “very smoothly”.

Unizo, the organisation that represents the self-employed, also welcomed Ducarme’s initiative.

Good suggestion from @ducarmedenis to extend the winter sales so that people can take more time for their shopping in safer conditions,” tweeted chief executive Danny Van Assche.

The economy committee of the Parliament will take up the issue at their next meeting, which will be on Wednesday 13 January.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times