The first week of the new order of shopping in non-essential shops only by appointment was dramatically bad for shop owners, according to the sector federation for clothes shops, Mode Unie.
In an effort to stem the growth of cases of Covid-19, the Consultative Committee at its last meeting decided to close all non-essential retail outlets, except by appointment. Customers would be limited in number and could only stay for half an hour, had to wear a mask and must come alone unless in need of support.
The result, Mode Unie said, was a 58.4% drop in takings, compared to a normal year – a concept that is rapidly fading into the distance. And that comes on top of the news that the promised double compensation for shops would not be coming after all.
“The mood of the clothes shops owners sank through the floor this week,” a spokesperson said.
The federation hopes the government will reverse its decision, at least in the case of clothes shops, whose products are extremely seasonal, and if not sold in preparation for summer, will have to be unloaded at a discount – in other words, at a loss – when the sales force a clear-out in preparation for fall-winter.
If that concession does not come to pass, the federation intends to press for compensation at least for independent shop-owners.
Based on a poll of 372 retailers, the federation described the first week of appointments, from Saturday 27 March to yesterday inclusive, as “extremely bad”. Compared to the first three weeks of March, takings were down 23.5%. And even in those weeks, taking were down 34.9% compared to the same period in a normal year.
Non-essential shops were closed – even by appointment – in the same period in 2020, during the first lockdown.
“Sale by appointment caused the negative result in March, due to a lack of perspective, few social contacts and permanent closure of the catering industry, to reach 58.4 percent,” said Mode Unie director Isolde Delanghe.
According to the federation, the negative figures until now can no longer be reversed for the rest of the season.