Austria small shops suffer!

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Austria small shops suffer!

Usually you shouldn’t even turn the light on, with this type of footfall.   Every employee in the shop costs more than he can implement, says Kurt Wilhelm. But there is no question of normal in times of Corona. “So we show energy. We want to unlock, we want to talk to people again and offer our goods.” Wilhelm sells beehive products under the Wald & Wiese brand and is chairman of the merchants of Wiener Neubaugasse. The city’s oldest shopping street combines 320 shops, most of which are specialists and lone traders.


A look into the Grätzel shows the bumpy terrain on which small traders move with their first attempts at re-starting. There is no signs to indictate a rush of customers yet.  Shopping frequency providers such as gastronomy, which seduce people into spending when shopping, are still closed. The number of city tourists magnetically attracting the hip quarter dropped to zero!

No discounts on shop rents

Anyone who unlocks here must be satisfied with a third of the usual turnover.  But the rents continue.  In practice, there is no question of discounts and deferrals, says Wilhelm. “If you don’t pay on time, you risk termination.”
More sales in good locations

For over a month, Covid-19 froze all retail life. Since Monday 13th April, it has been moving at least in shops under 400 square meters as well as in garden and hardware stores, which the authority also gave the green light to. 

But very few Austrians feel like shopping.  In good locations such as Vienna’s Mariahilfer Strasse, businesses have so far recorded 60 percent of their previous turnover. Locations away from major shopping streets only get one tenth, confirms the trade association.

Queues of customers form in front of opticians, cell phone shops, bookstores and sporting goods retailers. Hardware stores are also forced to process customers in blocks as a result of the rush. However, many fashion boutiques and electrical retailers remain empty.  Many small businesses, for which the restart is not worthwhile for the time being, did not open at all.
Trench warfare

The distinction between large and small shops, plus the preference of hardware stores to the disadvantage of furniture chains make for violent disputes.  A large corporation has already brought an action before the Constitutional Court. It is about the question of freedom of employment and the principle of equality.

Lutz Department stores, is a sharp critics of drawing the borderlines. They asked; “Why does a flower box go through as a basic requirement, but a kitchen that is necessary for the move, is not?  Why do you drive many people into small sales areas while large ones are far less dangerous to health?”

Many shops would have to refinance and would be obliged to invest. “There is a lot of economic pressure behind it.” But the smaller a business is, the easier it is to control.  Financially, little ones also got into trouble more quickly. It’s death, of course, is a quiet one!

Source: Der Standard

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