The trade association estimates that more than 11,000 retail outlets have closed since 2012. HDE Managing Director Stefan Genth asks Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer for support.

In a letter, the trade association addresses the Federal Minister of the Interior, Building and Home Affairs. Inner-city trade must be strengthened. Otherwise, a further increase in vacancies in many city centres threatens. HDE Managing Director Genth describes the situation in dramatic words: “Many inner cities in Germany are in dire need. Formerly attractive and vital centres are losing traction, and in many places only a few people find their way to the pedestrian zones and rows of shops. This is also a consequence of the shifts in sales into the online trade, the predicted shrinkage of the population (melting of the consumer base) as well as inner-German migration movements. We are therefore experiencing a significant increase in vacancy rates in a number of municipalities today”. Online sales are expected to rise by nine percent to 58.5 billion euros this year. The Handeslverband estimates this in its latest forecast. Part of this growth is likely to come again at the expense of the stationary retail trade.

Trade association calls for more attractive inner cities with fast Internet

The trade association has concrete demands on politicians. Stefan Genth: “Vital inner cities need improved functional granulation that also allows production to return to the inner cities. In addition, the attractiveness of the inner cities must not only be maintained or increased through a good mix of functions and industries, but greater importance must also be attached to design in the sense of building culture”. In order to be fit for the future, many retailers would link their digital and stationary distribution channels. “However, in order to be able to offer customers the added value of this link, especially in the stationary shops, an additional digital urban infrastructure is needed. The expansion of public WLANs and fast Internet in particular must therefore be given even greater priority,” says Genth. He also calls for a rethink of the driving ban in city centres. The consequences are “not only massive losses in turnover as a result of the driving bans, but also a further increase in the shift in turnover to online trading and a resurgence of the green meadow, which is undesirable in terms of urban planning and regional planning”.

Number of toy retailers also down

Toy retailers can also sing a song about the effects of online trading. According to npdgroup and the trade association Spielwaren BVS, around 40 percent of toys are purchased online. Just 30 per cent is accounted for by the stationary specialist trade. BVS managing director Steffen Kahnt told the dpa news agency: “The number of classic toy shops has been falling for years. According to the study, almost one in seven toy retailers disappeared between 2010 and 2016. And the industry giants were not left unscathed either. Whether Toys “R “Us, Intertoys or Top-Toy: many stores that have shaped the cityscape so far have closed or been taken over.


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Link: The Handelsverband Deutschland is committed to revitalising the inner cities.

Image: Trade association