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Germany: 9,000 fewer stores expected in 2023

Following the difficult Corona years, the retail sector in Germany will lose 9,000 more stores this year in 2023, according to a forecast by the German Retail Association (HDE). Increasing vacancies in many downtowns are making locations less attractive and putting more businesses at risk. The HDE is therefore calling for a start-up offensive with incentives from policymakers and the creation of settlement managers.

“The small-scale non-food specialist retailers are particularly affected. In view of the figures for the last few years, all alarm bells must be ringing in all city centers and among politicians. Because without successful retail, city centers have hardly any future prospects,” says HDE President Alexander von Preen. From 2020 to 2022, the number of stores per year fell by 11,000, which is much more than in the pre-crisis years 2015 to 2019, when this figure was 5,000 stores per year. Originally, the HDE even assumed a decline of 16,000 stores for the past year. However, such a large wave of closures was also prevented with the help of measures taken by the German government, such as energy and gas price brakes.

For the current year, the HDE forecasts a decline in the number of stores, which now stands at around 9,000. By the end of 2023, that would leave 311,000 stores nationwide, excluding micro businesses. In the current year, higher costs in particular will put pressure on companies’ revenues and profits. In addition, high inflation is leading to a loss of purchasing power among consumers.

“If retail dies, the city dies. Retail is not only a provider for the population, but also distinguishes itself through its diverse local social commitment and is also the caretaker of the cultural area of the city center. These services are in danger,” says von Preen. In order to support the retail trade, one of the main pillars of the city centers, the HDE is now advocating a start-up offensive. “Unbureaucratic and fast approval processes for conversions and rezonings must be at the top of the priority list. New settlements and start-ups need optimal conditions: For example, there should be settlement managers throughout the country,” says the HDE president.

The future of retail real estate will also be the focus of the Retail Real Estate Congress Germany on 25. and April 26, 2023 in Berlin. For more information, visit www.handelsimmobilienkongress.de



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