The shopping center sector, together with the tourist and hotel sectors, is one of the most affected by the coronavirus crisis. Faced with this situation, the Spanish Association of Shopping Centers and Parks (AECC) has asked the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism for a series of fiscal, labor and business reactivation measures in order to minimize the effects of the crisis on the sector.
The association, which recalls that this sector employs more than 730,000 professionals in Spain, hopes to hold, “as soon as possible”, a meeting with the cabinet led by Reyes Maroto to discuss the application of these measures, “which are critical as much for the survival as for the reactivation of the sector “.
Among the measures requested by the Government, aid to tenants stands out for the payment of rents, as other employers in the world of hospitality and commerce are requesting, after seeing that in the last battery of measures in which removals were approved and moratoriums on residential rent, the rental of commercial premises was not entered.
Some large owners of shopping centers, such as Merlin or Castellana Properties, have already approved rent forgiveness on their assets and others, such as Lar or Sonae Sierra, study case by case.
In addition to the aid in the payment of income, they also request tax credit measures and reduction of taxes on their activity such as exemption from Social Security fees and the relaxation of the requirements to access the guarantees guaranteed by the ICO, all this to guarantee the liquidity of the operators.
It also requests exemption during the alarm period from taxes and fees linked to the activity of shopping centers and parks, as well as tax deductions for owners who postpone or subsidize rents.
Likewise, the association proposes the streamlining in the processing of ERTES, as well as the flexibility in the reinstatement of workers, once the opening of trade occurs, so that it can adjust to the pace of recovery in consumption.
Prepare to reopen
AECC also focuses on “the expected recovery” of the sector after the reopening, to reactivate consumption as the health crisis allows it, through a series of measures that favor consumption in physical stores and entertainment venues and allow recovery to operators on closing days.
Thus, it requests that when this reopening takes place it contemplates the possibility that the Shopping Centers and Parks and the operators located there, may open every Sunday and holidays, throughout the national territory, during the financial years 2020 and 2021, to recover the weeks that have had to remain closed.
It also demands a relaxation in the time limits of opening to the public and other measures aimed at the reactivation of commercial activity are proposed, such as the request to reduce the VAT rates applicable to physical establishments and the start of a period special promotion for a month, for the recovery of commercial, leisure and restaurant activities, in which sales can be made without VAT.
The sector of shopping centers and parks in Spain, with a market share of over 18%, contributes more than 8,400 million euros to GDP and generates more than 730,000 jobs, of which 46% are direct, which represents more 2% of the country’s total employment.