More and more people in Sweden are now staying at home as the corona pandemic ravages around the world. Something that affects trade outside the community. During March, several stores have already applied for bankruptcy or corporate restructuring after having trouble paying off their debts.

- This is a tremendously tough period. Perhaps the toughest period retailing has experienced, says Johan Andersson, CEO of the Mellby Gård Group, which owns, among other things, the flash chains Dea Axelsson. Two chains that went bankrupt in March.

Johan Andersson, CEO of Mellby farm, the company that owns, among other things, the clothing stores Flash and Dea Axelsson. Stores that have now gone bankrupt. Photo: Mellby farm

The carpet was pulled away

According to him, it would never have been decided on bankruptcy for the store chains if it were not for the corona crisis.

- These are companies that we have had for a long time. It has been tough periods but you saw a brightening before the carpet was pulled away under your feet. Up to 70 percent of customers have disappeared in parts of the industry in recent weeks, he says.

And it is not just Flash and Dea Axelsson that have gone insolent lately. The chain Joy, which is run by the same company that runs Marquet, formerly MQ, has also been filed for bankruptcy. And chains like Polarn o Pyret and Brothers have been put into corporate restructuring.

- This means that you have ended up in insolvency but think that over time you can clear up the business. But it remains to be seen if this will succeed, says Richard Damberg, economist at the credit information company UC.

Business in a pinch

And according to Johan Andersson, CEO of Mellby farm, the medium-sized companies have come to grips when the government presented crisis packages.

- It is mainly the large companies and small businesses that the crisis packages have been targeted at and that is good. But the current measures with layoffs, for example, are not generous enough for companies to make it through the crisis, he says.

At the same time, he thinks that the delayed employer contribution and help with the rent for particularly vulnerable companies is a step in the right direction.

- There is no reason to stay here again, says Johan Andersson.