COVID-19 impact on brick-and-mortar retail: Colliers

RetailME Bureau

Owing to lockdown and movement restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, brick-and-mortar retail is severely impacted. This has drastically impacted not only brick-and-mortar sales but also reduced retailer’s ability to service online orders in store.

As the COVID-19 impact manifests across all sectors of the economy, consumer confidence is likely to be dampened, further impacting sales and increasing the likelihood that the impacts on comparison retail will be felt for months to come.

Also read: UAE, KSA consumers are spending more online amidst COVID-19

In addition to luxury comparison retail and full-service restaurants, entertainment and leisure are proving to be some of the hardest hit retail categories, with cinemas worldwide closures at an unprecedented rate, both voluntarily and due to government restrictions. While full-service restaurants have some ability to adapt – such as experiment with takeout / delivery options – dedicated entertainment and leisure facilities remain closed indefinitely due to their social nature.

In this context, Ricardo Bergsma, director of leasing and retail advisory services at Colliers International MENA, said, “Shopping centres continue to close as governments implement varying degrees of lockdowns in a bid to thwart transmission of the virus. Countries with nationwide mall closures include the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt, dramatically impacting retailer operations which will have widespread implications, particularly for mall owners / operators who are likely to see major disruptions in lease payments. For shopping mall owners to try and mitigate the impact, certain measures should be taken into consideration such as increasing PR activity with press releases, adopting screening measures in the malls, considering short-term rent break and increasing social media presence.”

Grocery retail, on the other hand, is struggling to keep up with the demand, now that consumers rely on supermarkets and grocery shops to buy their goods,” he added. “Carrefour in the UAE has revealed a 300% surge in online orders and 59% increase in new customers onto its platform.”

“Overall, we are seeing retail as one of the fastest sectors to recover when the market bounces back to normality. We are working with retailers on case-by-case bases to provide customised advice and guidance,” Bergsma concluded.


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