- The retail trade can open again. There can be no question of returning to normal. Demand remains weak.
- This should also have to do with the fact that most Germans are still barely on the move, as a graphic in an internal government paper shows.
- This is one of the reasons why the trade association is already demanding new government aid.
You can open again. Malls, shops, boutiques with less and those with more than 800 square meters of retail space. Nevertheless, there can be no question of a return to normality for German retailers. This is shown not only by a survey published by the Handelsverband Deutschland HDE this week, but also by a graphic from an internal government paper. The document, which provides the Ministry of Finance and the Economy with an overview of the economic situation, is available to NewsABC.net.
First, to survey around 500 retailers. According to this, 55 percent of the companies surveyed expect at most half of the previous year’s sales for the past week. The trend in the reopened stores is particularly weak in clothing retail. Here, one in five companies achieved no more than a quarter of the previous year’s revenue.
Corona apparently sells shopping
One of the main reasons for this may be that many Germans are still afraid to go shopping for fear of corona infection – especially since the hygiene measures, including wearing masks, are much stricter than they were before Corona. This impression appears to be reinforced by a graphic that appears on page four of the government paper.
The basis is data on movement patterns that the search engine Google collects and evaluates. Accordingly, despite the easing, only a few more people have been shopping in recent weeks than during strict lockdown times. The difference to the pre-lockdown time is still clear. There is still a drop of more than 40 percent compared to March. But see for yourself:
Take Georgstrasse in Hanover, for example. Instead of the up to 10,000 passers-by per hour, fewer than 6,000 people were noted there on the first weekend in May.
Retail trade demands elimination of electricity tax
It should come as no surprise that retailers are under increasing pressure. The department store giant Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof, for example, wants to close almost half of its branches. Of the approximately 170 houses, only 90 will remain. A similar fate threatens many other retailers should the lull continue this year. HDE managing director Stefan Genth also says: “The crisis is far from over for retailers.”
In order to absorb at least part of the losses, the trade association is now vehemently calling for the abolition of the electricity tax and a further reduction in the EEG surcharge, which finances the expansion of renewable energies. The association calculates that the electricity price could be reduced by five cents per kilowatt hour by 1.75 billion euros. A relief that the industry desperately needs in his view.
6 figures that show the extent of the corona crisis for the German economy
2. 36,605 KfW applications approved
The state development bank KfW claims to have received more than 38,000 corona applications. These are exclusively loan aids, mainly for medium and large companies. The bank approved at least 36,605 of them, the paper said. The volume distributed so far is 19.3 billion euros.
The government separately pledged guarantees totaling around 1.3 billion euros for unspecified large companies. Six further applications worth around 1.5 billion euros are in progress, according to the government document.
3. 11.8 percent drop in goods exports
Goods exports slumped sharply in March, 11.8 percent compared to the previous month. The paper refers to figures from the Federal Statistical Office. Exports to euro countries such as Italy, France and Spain were particularly affected. Figures for the April lockdown month are not yet available, but are likely to be even worse.
5. 37 percent decline in loan agreements
Have the Germans become risk-averse? In any case, compared to the previous year, there was a sharp decline in new loan contracts for private customers, namely by up to 37 percent per week compared to the previous year, the paper said. The data come from the Federal Statistical Office.
6. 3,822 hotline calls to the Ministry in one week
Finally, a number for gourmets. At the beginning of the crisis, the Federal Ministry of Economics set up its own corona hotlines. And they were used quite a bit. At the peak, in the first week of lockdown (March 23-29), there were 3,822 calls. Means: The phone rang on average every three minutes.
Since then the calls have been steadily decreasing. Last week there were only 560.
And what did the callers want to know? The focus was on how to apply, questions about KfW loans, in particular options for extending the term and problems of small business owners with landlords or suppliers.