Shopping in the boutique, at the watchmaker or in the shoe store could soon be possible again - but only under strictly controlled conditions and with a built-in fun brake.
According to a draft resolution from the Chancellery for the federal-state summit to combat corona on Wednesday, the states should be given the opportunity to allow so-called Click & Meet offers below a certain, not yet quantified incidence value.
The idea is to let customers into the shops if they have previously booked an appointment for a fixed period of time.
According to the draft, at least 40 square meters of retail space must be available for each customer.
Personal data must be recorded and documented so that contacts can be traced in the event of infection.
So far, only so-called Click & Collect solutions have been allowed in most federal states.
Articles ordered online can be picked up outside the shops.
The paper from the Chancellery provides for greater relief for book shops, flower shops and garden centers.
Similar to grocery stores and drugstores, they should in future also be able to receive customers without prior notification.
For them there is probably only a distance rule of 20 square meters per customer.
No opening strategy for the entire trade
The industry is reacting cautiously to the Click & Meet idea.
“The purchase with appointment allocation is not an opening strategy for the entire trade, at best a first step for small shops towards normality.
But it doesn't save the retailers, ”said the managing director of the German Retail Association (HDE), Stefan Genth, WELT.
For most merchants, such “one-to-one customer care” is hardly affordable, especially not over a longer period of time.
The HDE continues to push for a complete opening as soon as possible.
There is enormous pressure on the trade lobby to obtain relief for its members.
This was underscored by new figures from the Federal Statistical Office on Tuesday.
After that, sales of department stores as well as fashion and shoe stores collapsed in the lockdown month of January by 76.6 percent compared to the same month of the previous year.
Furniture and hardware stores recorded a minus of 43.2 percent.
Genth spoke of a "deep valley of tears".
At the same time, the online boom continued at an accelerated rate of almost a third.
The division of trade into winners and losers thus accelerated.
The retail sector as a whole suffered the sharpest drop in sales since the beginning of the crisis in January, with a real decline of 8.7 percent.
"Maintaining the customer relationship"
The associations of clothing and shoe stores demanded an opening for March.
The fashion industry is threatened with “the third disaster season in a row,” said the head of the textile trade association, Siegfried Jacobs: “March in particular is traditionally high in sales because of the rising temperatures and the beginning of spring.” Using it is after the lockdown and in a “ruinous one Discount battle ”is indispensable for winter goods.
A group of larger chain stores presented a package of measures for safe shopping on Tuesday.
The companies offered a voluntary commitment to a strict hygiene concept, special opening times for particularly vulnerable elderly people and participation in a further developed follow-up strategy.
The group includes more than 50 companies, including C&A, Breuninger, H&M, Kik and Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof.
The HDE apparently fears that Click & Meet could become a longer-lasting interim solution to reassure dealers.
However, there was no substantive reason for continuing the lockdown, argued Genth on the day before the Corona summit: "With its hygiene concepts in the continuously open food area, the industry was able to prove millions of times every day that shopping is not a hotspot," he said.
Nevertheless, quite a few shopkeepers are likely to take the opportunity to serve customers with fixed appointments.
"Many will do it, if only for reasons of maintaining customer relationships," said a spokesman for the fashion retailer.
In many cases, Click & Meet offers are not lucrative because of the high effort involved.
The identity of every customer must be checked and their data recorded.
According to industry experts, Click & Meet is primarily of interest for shops that already generate high sales per customer with a lot of consulting effort, such as luxury boutiques, jewelers, kitchen specialist shops or specialist bed retailers.
On the other hand, the more business models rely on high customer numbers and mass-produced goods, the less interesting the model is.
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