Reconfinement, a disaster for trade in the run-up to Christmas

In the run-up to the Christmas holidays, the announcement of a potential reconfinment makes traders cringe. Indeed, after several months without activity following the general containment that began in March, the situation is delicate. Especially since for many shops, Christmas is a pivotal time, especially on weekends. The latter are particularly in demand by customers who carry out all the holiday purchases. This unprecedented and uncertain situation is closely followed day by day by all. The scenario of a reconfination would be a disaster for professionals in all cities, just under two months before Christmas.

A surge in activity hampered by a possible reconfination

Toy, decoration and tableware signs are on the lookout for future measures related to COVID-19. Indeed, they are on the front line given the period, a period during which they achieve their most important turnover. According to the Trade Alliance, since the beginning of the year, companies have experienced a 20% drop in sales. The announcement of an advanced curfew or even a reconfination would then be very difficult for the activity. Since customers usually come to do their shopping after their work day, the mere possibility of closing at 7pm would be impactful. An impact for about 25% of the turnover achieved during the week, and what about weekends? Saturdays make it possible to achieve on average 30% and 50% of the weekly turnover.

And all this, not to mention the impact of the sanitary measures put in place to receive customers. When they reopened, the stores had to be equipped to comply with all the sanitary measures imposed. The installation of hydroalcoholic gel, a modulation of activity, the wearing of masks, or the regulation of customer flows… These are all factors that slow down activity, and accelerate the appeal of e-commerce.

Indeed, the sale of products online has seen a nice increase, much to the damn of traditional shops. The approach of the Christmas holidays is a busy time in shopping malls and retailers, but in addition to the containment this year, the previous year also had its share of obstacles. The“Yellow Jackets”protests also impacted the winter of 2019, as in Bordeaux. A study by the CCI of Bordeaux reveals that between December 2018 and January 2019, 93% of shops experience a drop in attendance.

Announcements expected by the end of the year

The health situation changes on a daily basis, and the latest results are worrying. However, despite this, the Trade Alliance, which represents more than 27,000 businesses across the country, hopes to keep the stores open, already ready for Christmas. The “gift race” has already begun, and is a decisive period for traders. A reconfination with closure of these signs would really rhyme with “disaster”. To prepare for the Christmas holidays, the French have an average basket of 342 euros, figures from 2019. These are figures encouraged by special operations like Black Friday, where prices are broken. Organizing a new containment would therefore be a major miss for businesses, already affected by the rise of the internet and online shopping. Indeed, in 2019, 4 out of 5 French people are preparing their Christmas shopping online.

Christmas market gifts
The traditional Christmas Market will not take place this year.

Some then move to stores, but e-commerce represents a market of 20 billion euros during this period. This is a good time for meeting, conviviality, and a period of intense activity for businesses. But with the assumptions of reconfinement or the advancement of curfew time, many jobs are at risk. It is for this reason that many players in this sector are raising their voices in order to obtain permission to open. An essential demand, which would allow many businesses not to close… Definitely.

Sources:

Press release – Trade Alliance – 27 October 2020 – No to reconfinement: opening all businesses is essential to a successful end of the year

FEVAD – 15 September 2020 – Quarterly barometer of e-commerce audience in France / the contribution of e-commerce to physical stores

Antvoice – 24 September 2020 – [Noel & Black Friday 2020] E-commerce: Key figures and tips for a successful end to the year

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