According to a recent poll of 289 merchants by UCM, the majority of merchants in Wallonia and Brussels are expecting turnover during the winter sales this year to be on par with that of previous years, as they gear up for the kick off on Saturday, January 2nd. 50% are currently sitting on more stock than usual. This is thought to be due to poor sales caused not only by the distinctly non-wintery weather in the run up to Christmas, but also by the terror threat bearing down on Brussels. 68.1% of merchants in the clothing sector have recorded a drop in turnover over the past six months.
Unsurprisingly, 84.7% of the merchants polled say they are glad the winter sales are starting a day earlier than previous years. UCM points out that the law states that when the first day of the sales falls on a Sunday, it may be brought forward to the Saturday.
The survey also revealed that only 36.8% of traders feel that the laws pertaining to sales and discounts are conducive to healthy competition between businesses. Moreover, a mere 28.2% believe these laws are adequately complied with.
“These results are most likely down, in part, to the increasing number of promotions and joint offers in the run up to the sales period, which enable merchants to reduce their prices de facto”, states UCM, which believes it would be an “appropriate” time for the Ministry of Economy to investigate the pros and cons for independent businesses of the “pre-sales” period.