Vienna (OTS) – Austria has been in the third hard corona lockdown since December 26th, almost all non-food trade is closed at least until January 17th. Domestic retailers lose around 3 billion euros in sales, at least two thirds of which are irretrievably lost. Every tenth consumer restricts himself to buying essential goods in the lockdown.
Despite the tight official interpretation of Click & Collect, at least 6 percent of consumers plan to increasingly rely on online orders and contactless collection in stores during the lockdown, according to the result of the brand new AGM New Year’s Eve survey 2020 in cooperation with Mindtake Research. “Electronics and sports equipment, clothing and furniture are now particularly popular with Click & Collect in the Lockdown,” explains Rainer Will, Managing Director of the trade association.
Zwtl .: New Year’s Eve business suffers massively
Despite the eCommerce boom and the Click & Collect option, the high-turnover days after Christmas, which are often used to redeem cash gifts, vouchers and exchange items in brick-and-mortar stores, are almost completely eliminated this year.
The New Year’s Eve business is also suffering massively: the most popular gifts in 2020 include lucky charms (29.9%), sweets (6.2%) and vouchers (5.4%). Fireworks – usually the top sellers at the turn of the year – only have 1.7 percent of consumers on their shopping list this year due to the special circumstances.
Zwtl .: Trade association fights for sales compensation for indirectly affected companies
One positive piece of news before the turn of the year is the revenue replacement announced by the federal government for all businesses indirectly affected by the lockdown (e.g. wholesalers). For weeks, the trade association had vehemently pushed for this unbureaucratic, equal support for all indirectly affected companies.
“We are pleased that the federal government has taken up our demand for a fair sales replacement for indirectly affected companies and will take this logical step. However, we consider the lower limit of 40 percent sales loss in November / December as a condition to be clearly too high. Even a sales loss of 30 percent is a threat to the very existence of our industry, “emphasizes Rainer Will.
May: 2021 as the year of confidence: Post-Corona plan crucial
The greatest wish of Austrian retailers for the new year? A “Post-Corona Plan” so that local companies, employees and all people in Austria have a medium and long-term perspective again. This is the only way in this country – despite all the adversities (which will probably still be with us in 2021) – a sustainable climate of confidence can be established. The following four components should be included for this:
1. Consider the time factor The top priority must be to avoid a fourth corona lockdown. Therefore, the trade association recommends, in addition to the minimum distance (“baby elephant”), to include the time factor more strongly. A maximum length of stay in the shop would be conceivable, for example, in order to further reduce the risk of infection, provided that the health authority evidence allows this.
2. Create planning security Countless companies, especially SME dealers, are struggling with increasing liquidity bottlenecks, which increase with each further lockdown. Therefore, domestic companies finally need planning security in terms of tax, financial and accounting.
3. Pay out sales compensation for the entire duration of the officially ordered closure The sales compensation has already proven itself in the second lockdown and was the only instrument that could be paid out quickly to the businesses concerned. Since all other aids (including short-time work, fixed cost allowance, loss compensation) are more bureaucratic to apply for and only end up in the companies’ accounts with a considerable delay, the sales compensation must also be paid out for the entire third lockdown. A limit until 31.12. is absolutely unacceptable from the point of view of the trade association, because the traders cannot pre-finance even more corona crisis debts. 6,500 companies are already facing bankruptcy, 60,000 jobs are shaky.
4. Use vouchers as an incentive system In addition, the AGM renews its demand to set positive incentives in the form of Austria checks in order to motivate the population to be as free as possible. Why don’t we give everyone who volunteers to be tested in January and thus contribute to the health situation of the population, a 50 euro voucher as a thank you, which can be redeemed at local companies with a business location in Austria? This would mean that crisis-ridden companies and their jobs would also benefit from a piece of artificial purchasing power at a time when the savings rate has doubled due to uncertainties. Everyone would benefit from this, consumers, health authorities, the domestic economy and ultimately also politicians, since their goals can be achieved more quickly. Because: 58% of Austrians will not allow themselves to be freed according to a current AGM survey.
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