Düsseldorf The retailers in Germany fear a wave of bankruptcies and the loss of millions of jobs, if state aid does not flow to the companies immediately and unbureaucratically. In a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel, the industry association HDE called for quick and comprehensive help for the numerous trading companies whose businesses have to close their doors to contain the corona virus.
The corona epidemic poses challenges for the industry that did not even exist during the financial crisis, said HDE President Josef Sanktjohanser on Wednesday. “Thousands of independent companies and millions of jobs are being destroyed by massive sales losses.” The business closings ordered by the authorities led to a nationwide loss of sales of around seven billion euros per week.
Many small textile retailers, shoe and sports stores, perfumeries, furniture retailers and electronics stores as well as department stores are affected, said Sanktjohanser. State aid must therefore be granted in the form of direct payments and guarantees from the state development bank KfW without any personal contributions. Tax authorities and social security agencies would have to immediately defer the payments due in March and April.
While supermarket chains are allowed to keep their branches open in order to secure supplies to consumers, numerous other retailers are affected by the closings. According to a spokesman, about all branches of the electronics retail chain Media Markt and Saturn are temporarily closed in the Federal Republic with the exception of the federal states of Saxony and Thuringia. The markets in Saxony are to follow on Thursday.
However, goods can still be ordered from the chains via the Internet. The perfumery chain Douglas had announced that it had suspended branch sales in most European countries. Douglas is examining participation in public aid programs for the companies. According to a spokeswoman, a decision has not yet been made here. Douglas also continues its online and mail order business.
According to the HDE, however, online retailers are also suffering from falling revenues. The consumer reluctance caused by the spread of the virus led to a decline in sales of 20 to 30 percent for many Internet retailers, complained Sanktjohanser.
The HDE appealed to the landlords of shops to suspend rents and allow rent deferrals. Otherwise, many shops in Germany could not survive the period of shop closings during the coronavirus crisis.
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