The situation related to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic is developing hour by hour. At the moment (as of 19 March 2020), 325 people are infected in Poland, five people have died. The epidemic and measures to counteract it also hit the retail market – below key information from recent days.
Aid package for entrepreneurs
The Polish government has announced a PLN 212 billion aid programme for the economy and entrepreneurs affected by the current crisis related to the COVID-19 epidemic. Although, contrary to what has been announced, it is not part of the programme to lift the trade ban on Sunday, the good news for retail chains is the postponement of the entry into force of the retail tax at least until January 2021.
Non-food suffers the most
The vast majority of industrial goods stores must remain closed during an epidemic. Retailers try to increase online sales , by offering free or cheaper deliveries and extending the time for returns. But e-commerce is not enough to make up for the loss. In connection with the coronavirus epidemic, owners of Polish brands of clothing, footwear, accessories and others founded the Association of Polish Trade and Service Employers to work together to save Polish companies. The Association worked out common demands, with which it addressed the Minister of Development in a letter. These are, among others, the restoration of trade on Sundays, permission to shorten working hours and reduce employees’ salaries or postponing VAT payments.
Restrictions on the number of people in stores
In order to avoid a crowd of customers in stores, chains introduce restrictions on the number of people who can stay in the store simultaneously. Such decisions were made by Biedronka, Zabka or Lewiatan, among others. Restrictions are also introduced by chains of construction stores, whose stores have not been closed down after the operation of shopping malls has been restricted.
In order to avoid problems with the lack of employees to go on parental or health leave or on demand, retail chains offer presence bonuses to employees. Such a decision was made by Biedronka, Lidl and Aldi, among others. The highest bonuses are offered by Aldi, where they amount to PLN 1 thousand gross.
We follow the impact of the epidemic on the retail market in PMR Retail Insight: Poland.