40% turnover drop for non-essential stores; Retailers take gov't to court
Retailers in the non-food sector saw their turnover drop by 38 percent in January, compared to the same month last year, Statistics Netherlands reported. That is the biggest decrease since the stats office started tracking those numbers in 2005.
January was the first full month since non-essential stores were forced to close their doors in the hard lockdown against the coronavirus in mid-December.
Clothing stores and shoe stores were hit hard in particular, losing half of their turnover. Electronics, recreation and furniture stores lost a third to half of their turnover.
The stats office also noted that the online sales of physical stores who previously sold online as an "extra", doubled in January compared to a year ago. But according to the retailers, this is not nearly enough to make up for the lost sales in-store.
From next week, non-essential stores will be allowed to open for shopping by appointment. Appointments must be made at least 4 hours in advance, and there can be no more than two customers per floor in each time slot of at least 10 minutes.
Especially for larger stores, reopening on these terms will not be worth it, retailers' organization INretail said shortly after the relaxation was announced.
INretail announced on Friday that it will contest the coronavirus measures in court. Director Udo Deflgou told Financieele Dagblad that retailers have very good arguments for stores to reopen fully, but the government is ignoring them. "That hurts a lot. So we are preparing a lawsuit to force reopening."
The catering sector already filed a similar lawsuit. And market vendors are also working on one, according to NOS.