Foto: Radio 2

January sales: “People are only buying clothes if they need to!”

Monday was the first day of the January sales, but industry watchers noted a slow start in places.  Compared to last year sales on the first day of the January sales were down by half at independent fashion retailers, but perhaps that is a poor indication as the first day of the sales last year was a Friday at the tail end of the Christmas break.

Mondays are traditionally slow days in Flemish retail and yesterday many people had other things on their mind and had to rush back to work after the break.  Corona measures too probably dampened our enthusiasm for consumerism. 

A more upbeat message came from Flemish chain stores.  Industry organisation Comeos says the bigger stores are happy with the turnout on Monday.  It notes that high streets in smaller provincial towns fared better than the big shopping centres.  Online sales too are buoyant. Winter items like thick jumpers and coats are popular due to the cold weather.  Comeos expects trade to pick up further during the weekend.

Mode Unie, which represents smaller independent retailers, is worried the sales won’t be a success as long as people don’t have the idea things are going to get better.  Past months have been slow for fashion stores and even with reductions on two items bought together last weekend trade was not roaring. Ilse Delanghe: “There were a lot of people in the shopping precincts, but people were just out for a stroll.”

Mode Unie says people need to be given the idea that they will be able to make plans once again.

“People are only purchasing clothes, if they need them.  It’s because they are working from home and there are no parties.  Nobody sees friends and family anymore”.

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