Belgian sales period starts "dramatically"

A woman wearing a face mask and gloves pays at a fashion store's check-out
Photo: Shutterstock

The Belgian summer sales period suffered from the resurgence of Covid-19 and subsequent measures: its first-day turnover was only half that of last year.

 

Covid worries stores

Belgium has an official summer sales period, which this year was delayed by a month until 1 August following the first wave of Covid-19. However, the delay now means that the sales period coincides with the second wave, and most people have chosen to simply stay at home. Saturday morning was absolutely dramatic, trade federation Comeos told Business AM, and an improvement in the afternoon could not prevent the daily total for the first day from halving compared to 2019. In Antwerp, where the second wave hit first and measures are tighter, the drop in sales was even 70 %.

 

Comeos and NSZ/SNI, which represents smaller stores, ask the government to allow 'funshopping' during the sales period - meaning the ban on shopping in groups would be revoked. However, it remains to be seen if this would be much of a help: a survey by the National Bank of Belgium says 90 % of Belgians visit stores less often than before the Covid-crisis, and that half of them also spend less on non-food.