“There are many of us on the edge of the abyss”


Bankruptcy is looming for many small traders: "There are many of us on the brink"

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Bankruptcy is looming for many small traders: “There are many of us on the brink”

In a letter published on Wednesday, owners of Belgian stores and retailers are asking their customers to return to businesses to avoid bankruptcy. Despite increased attendance in recent months, many fear that the resumption of the epidemic will push Belgians a little further away from shops.

The call for shopping “smart, safe and responsible” is launched on Wednesday by the sectoral organization Belgian Luxembourg Council for Retail and Shopping Centers (BLSC), which represents more than 200 professional players in retail and commercial real estate in Belgium and Luxembourg.

The restructuring announcements and other job losses, especially at Wibra, Lunch Garden or Makro, make the organization fear the worst. “Many of us are on the brink, especially small traders, innovative stores or starters”, wrote the BLSC in its letter.

The sector says it understands the attraction of online commerce, accessible at all times and allowing you to avoid having to travel. “It’s up to us to continue to innovate, to surprise you and provide you with a great shopping experience”, admits the BLSC in its letter. However, for the organization, the situation is special and to get their heads out of the water, businesses need customers to come back to the stores.

Resumption of epidemic could keep people away from shops

Attendance at shopping centers remains below 2019 levels: -15% in September, -11% during the August sales and -28% in July. More consumers are nevertheless shopping on the spot, rejoices the organization, welcoming an increase in attendance month after month.

The BLSC, however, fears that the resumption of the epidemic will once again push the faithful away from the stores. While she recognizes the importance of enhanced measures, she asks customers to return in a responsible and safe manner.

“With the necessary prudence, good citizenship and the responsibility that we show, we, the traders, and you, the customers, we can make it happen”, calls the BLSC. Otherwise, many stores will have to go out of business before the end of the health crisis, she warns.


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