Share article:
Share article:

Retailers regret ‘worst winter sales ever’

© Belga

This year’s winter sales, despite a two-week extension, was the worst ever, according to the retail federation Comeos. The verdict was backed by Mode Unie, which represents clothes shops.

According to the industry figures, clothes sales were down this sales period by 25-30% compared to the winter sales last year.

Sales periods are regulated by law in Belgium to four weeks in January and four weeks in July. This year, exceptionally, the January period was extended by two weeks into February, ending this weekend.

Last January’s sales were unaffected by the coronavirus, which at that time was still a distant menace. The summer sales, however, were postponed to August, and subject to restrictions. Those continued this winter.

Shopping with friends, or fun-shopping, was not allowed, which retailers saw as the most damaging restriction. Numbers in shops at any one time were restricted (something all shops have had to put up with since the first lockdown) and shopping time was limited (in theory) to half an hour, although it is doubtful whether many stores were equipping staff with stop-watches.

At the same time, all horeca establishment – bars and cafes, essentially – were closed, which together with a ban on fun-shopping turned the sales into a chore rather than an outing, Comeos explained.

Particularly hard-hit were sales of men’s clothing. The reason: men shopping for clothes in the sales are typically accompanied by their significant other, and if that’s not possible, they’d rather not bother.

The extension of the sales period to this weekend was at least a small mercy, Comeos said.

The exceptional extension of the sales was seen as positive because it allowed the retailers to sell off their stock,” said Kathy Bergen, sector manager for fashion at Comeos.

February is a particularly calm month in normal years, but we have been able to counter that a bit this year.”

Nevertheless, according to Mode Unie, 78% of clothes shops have seen their financial situation get worse since Covid-19, and 55% have had to resort to private financing to keep their business open. The industry has called on the government for support measures, such as a reduction in the VAT they have to pay.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

European Council: Decisions on Covid-19 and energy and debate on other issues
At the two-days summit which ended on Friday, the European Council adopted conclusions on COVID-19, digital, energy prices, migration, trade and ...
Flanders ‘water bomb’ could cause €2 billion in damages and affect thousands
The next "water bomb" or heavy rainfall over Flanders could cause damages estimated at around €2 billion, and could affect up to 100,000 people in ...
Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine 90% effective in 5 to 11-year-olds
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 90.7% effective in preventing symptomatic forms of the coronavirus in children aged five to 11, Pfizer announced on ...
Belgian airport named best for cargo in Europe
Brussels Airport has been named the best airport in Europe in a 2021 roundup of the best cargo airports across the world. The Asian Freight, ...
NASA plans first return mission to Moon in February 2022
The United States space agency, NASA, has announced that it will be aiming to launch its first, uncrewed mission to the moon, Artemis 1, in February ...
New, reportedly more contagious Delta mutation being monitored
A new mutation of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is reported to be more contagious, is being monitored by health authorities in the ...
Angèle releases new single: ‘Bruxelles je t’aime’
Belgian singer Angèle has unveiled her latest song ahead of the release of her new album, due later this year. 'Bruxelles je t'aime' (Brussels I ...
23 million chickens and 1.7 million pigs: Climate experts call for livestock cut
Flander's livestock needs to be drastically cut to save the climate and reach the emission reduction targets, according to the latest advice from the ...
Vaccination uptake surges in Wallonia following CST announcement
The number of people getting vaccinated against the coronavirus increased fourfold in Wallonia after it was announced that the Covid Safe Ticket ...
Guilty by association
BRUSSELS BEHIND THE SCENES Weekly analysis and untold stories With SAM MORGAN Other Brussels behind the scenes stories: Brussels' bid to make ...
Health minister supports use of Covid Safe Ticket in workplace
As the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) has been expanded in Brussels and is set to in Wallonia, federal health minister Frank Vandenbroucke has ...
Maggots show Conings may have lived longer following disappearance
Former army soldier Jürgen Conings, whose disappearance in mid-May resulted in a month-long manhunt, may have been alive for longer than has been ...