The enthusiasm for shopping is still a lot less than in 2019. Especially the shops in the Dutch city centers notice that the number of visitors is lagging behind. Compared to the period before corona, it saves more than 30 percent.
This is apparent from research by INretail, the trade association of retailers. Shops in the Dutch city centers recorded half of their pre-coronavirus turnover in the first half of 2021. Only when the lockdown measures were largely lifted at the end of April did sales pick up.
The regional differences between the stores were large in the past six months. For example, stores in Amsterdam booked 37 percent of the turnover compared to the same period in 2019. For their industry peers in Almere, that percentage was much higher at 63 percent.
According to INretail, lagging visitor numbers affect spending in the city centre. Since stores fully reopened on April 28, an average of 69 percent of the number of visitors has been counted compared to 2019. “The 31 percent of the number of visitors that is still missing is needed to allow shops to function in a healthy way,” he said. said a spokesperson for INretail.
INretail calls on the government to monitor the economic future of shopping centers. Taking action now will prevent a lot of trouble later. Many shopping areas have to become more compact, vacancy has to be tackled and investments are needed to strengthen the attractiveness. INretail calls on municipalities to make good plans for this together with local partners and entrepreneurs.
It remains crucial that the new cabinet also pays attention at national level to the economic vitality of shopping areas in the coming years jaren
The cabinet has reserved 100 million euros to improve shopping areas and tackle vacancy. INretail calls on municipalities and private parties to submit projects to the RVO (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland) in order to try to recover part of the investment costs through the government. “In addition, it remains crucial that the new cabinet also pays attention to the economic vitality of shopping areas at a national level in the coming years. We want to read about this in the coalition agreement,” says INretail. Earlier, the shopkeepers’ association warned against further clear-cutting in the shopping street. Not only because of bankruptcies, but also because entrepreneurs themselves choose to stop.
The average retail vacancy rate is now 7.5 percent. The corona crisis mainly affects the shopping streets in the major cities, which until 2020 hardly had to deal with empty retail properties. Vacancy has increased significantly in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Eindhoven in particular. In Eindhoven about 9 percent of the shops are empty, in Amsterdam it is 4.8 percent. The absence of foreign tourists in particular causes loss of turnover and ultimately the closing of shops.
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