Leuven, 24.03.2020

Belgian Non-Food retail hit hard by Covid-19 weekend closure



Sales declines up to -33% are hitting Belgian non-food retailers hard in week 11 (March 9-15). Stores had to close during the weekend, hurting Fashion retailers most: they lost a third of their turnover. Entertainment is also declining (-14%), except for children’s books (+6%). Electro maintains a slight growth (+4%) thanks to a massive shift to online sales (+62%).

Measures to contain the outbreak of Covid-19 in Belgium are already significantly impacting retailers. Because of the mandatory weekend closure of all non-essential stores (announced on Thursday March 12), Fashion retailers lost up to a third of their turnover (-33%) that week. All Entertainment categories (music, video, games and books) are also declining (-14% in total), except for children’s books (+6%).

Electro retail was able to grow (+4%) thanks to a massive shift to online sales (+62%), three times higher than the year-on-year growth trend until that week. Consumers are investing in IT and Office Equipment (+33%) to prepare for a prolonged period of studying and working at home: laptop (+39%), desktop (+25%) and most of all monitor (+130%) volumes are booming. Consumers are also preparing for the quarantine impact on food supply, increasing their capacity to store frozen foods (freezers +175%) and bake homemade bread (5 times more breadmakers were sold).

Distribution panel data indicates supply chains are coming under pressure too, with a drop of -8% in volume, partially offset by higher prices leading to a decline of only -2% in value.

“The impact in week 12, with stores having to close completely, is expected to be even bigger” says Wim Boesmans, Commercial Director at GfK Belgium, “and the question is to what extent online sales will compensate for these store closures over the coming weeks.”

Discover how COVID-19 affects Belgium's TCG market How have the lockdown measures impacted the behavior of Belgian shoppers in  week 12?


Note to the editors

As part of its retail panel, GfK regularly collects sales data in more than 70 countries worldwide for over 300 products in the consumer electronics, photo, telecommunications, information technology, office equipment, and major and small domestic appliance segments. GfK Point of Sales Tracking covers key retailers and relevant online and offline sales channels.

GfK Distribution Panel tracks retailers & resellers purchases from distributors and wholesalers in 6 countries in Western & Southern Europe (Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal) and many in the world.

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