The introduction of so-called '2G' regulations for the German retail sector, as the country seeks to tackle the latest coronavirus wave, is having a negative impact on trading, according to Handelsverbandes Deutschland (HDE), the German retail trade association.
Under the 2G rules, only those that are 'geimpft' (vaccinated) or 'genesen' (recovered from COVID) are allowed into non-essential retail outlets.
'Severe Drop In Sales'
A HDE survey of some 1,100 operators found that many are reporting a 'severe drop in sales' as a result of the regulations, while 70% have negative expectations for the remainder of the festive period.
“The Christmas business this year is a disaster for many retailers," commented HDE Managing Director Stefan Genth. "What should actually be the positive highlight of the year is now often a bottomless hole."
According to HDE, retailers that are required to operate under 2G restrictions have lost close to a third of their pre-COVID sales in the past week – only food retailing, which is exempt from the 2G requirement, and online channels are performing well.
Some 38% of operators say that they believe their business is at risk if the 2G restrictions persist for a while longer. Just 17% of companies surveyed are satisfied with their Christmas sales performance so far.
'Writing Off' Christmas
“Many retail companies are already writing off the Christmas business," Genth added. "When you know that the last two months are usually by far the busiest time of the year, that's a dramatic development."
The HDE is calling for change in how the measures are implemented, calling for the introduction of the so-called 'Bändchenregelung', or 'ribbon regulation', to be introduced nationwide – this would mean that when a customer is checked upon entry to a store, he or she receives a 'ribbon' around their wrist that enables them to access shops for the rest of that particular day.
"2G while shopping is not getting us any further in the fight against the pandemic," Genth said.
In November, GfK found that consumer confidence in Germany was on the decline, hitting its lowest level since the summer. [Image ©ralfliebhold/123RF.COM]