May offer pick-up to stores in lockdown?

On Wednesday, the retail sector has to close down to a large extent. But the industry insists, in lockdown "click & collect "- that is, the collection of goods previously purchased online in stores.

The fashion shops, electronics chains, book and furniture retailers fear that the online retailers will take their business away from them during the lockdown period. Therefore, the German Trade Association (HDE) appeals to politicians that retailers in lockdown continue to hand over goods ordered on the Internet ("click & collect ") in stores." We require that the "click & collect "must remain possible," said HDE spokesman Stefan Hertel. The e-commerce association bevh had also previously stated that such a step could ensure the survival of stationary retail and ensure the general supply of the population.

MediaMarkt, Ikea & Co advocate pick-up stations

The associations receive support from the electronics chains Media Markt and Saturn, which belong to Ceconomy, the furniture retailer Ikea and booksellers. A spokesman for the electronics chains emphasized that the first Corona wave had already shown that it was possible to ensure health protection for customers and employees through specially set up pick-up stations when collecting goods that had been ordered in advance. At the same time offer "click & collect "gives stationary retailers the opportunity to assert themselves better in the competition against pure online retailers during the crisis. And it relieves the pressure on delivery services, which were already working on the attack before Christmas.

Germany’s largest furniture retailer Ikea is also demanding that retailers "continue to be able to offer a pick-up service with contactless delivery across the board". Ikea would like to be able to use its huge stores during shutdown at least as pick-up stations.

The Borsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels also urges that at least contactless pick-up stations and delivery services from bookstores be possible. He still hopes that the book trade can stay open. "Because the last shutdown and throughout the year has shown how great the demand for books as a cultural asset is, especially in times of crisis, and what an indispensable role bookstores play as intellectual filling stations for society," explained Managing Director Alexander Skipis. Berlin had previously announced that bookstores could remain open.

Split reactions from politics

In politics, the proposal for inner-city shops as pick-up points met with a mixed response. According to a government spokesman, the Baden-Wurttemberg state government has absolutely nothing to do with pick-up offers in retail. "Pick-up options beyond the catering trade would be counterproductive," said the spokesman. "The more exceptions we make, the longer we need until the infection numbers are significantly down, the longer the misery of the lockdown, the longer the businesses have to stay shut."

The proposed resolution of the federal state of Bremen for the Corona regulation, however, provided that "click & collect "should be possible if the pick-up can take place without contact, taking protective measures into account. The North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of Economic Affairs Andreas Pinkwart (FDP) signaled in the WDR that he was at least open to such a solution in bookshops.

Meanwhile, on Monday, customers jammed in front of booksellers and hairdressers. The real-time data from the company Hystreet, which specializes in measuring customer traffic, showed at noon that an above-average number of consumers were on the move in many inner cities.

However, the trade association HDE does not expect a really dramatic onslaught. "Most customers saw the lockdown coming, and many have already organized it in such a way that they no longer have to go shopping," said HDE spokesman Hertel. "A few more customers can come into the shops today and tomorrow," he said.

Request to extend the opening times until Wednesday

In order to avoid the crowds in front of the shops, politicians are calling for the opening times to be extended. The CDU member of the Bundestag and Hamburg state party leader Christoph Plob demanded that the "shopping times be extended into the evening" in order to avoid the crowding of shops. Berlin’s CDU parliamentary group leader Burkard Dregger even called on retailers in the capital to take full advantage of the shop opening hours from midnight to midnight, which are possible under the law. FDP parliamentary group vice Michael Theurer also pleaded in the "Bild" newspaper for a temporary opening of shops around the clock. "A 48-hour opening until lockdown prevents the formation of a queue, which from an infectiological point of view should never happen." 

The retail trade does not want to ignore the demands of politics. The general manager of the Main Association of German Retailers (HDE), Genth, described an extension of the opening times before the lockdown in an interview with the "Bild" newspaper as "sensible".


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