The corona pandemic slowed down the trade in the important Christmas business for two years. Therefore, the expectations for the Advent season are high. But price increases in the cost of living mean new question marks.
Leipzig/Dresden (dpa/sn) - The Saxony Trade Association sees "cause for optimism" after the third Sunday in Advent with Sunday shopping in some inner cities. This is how managing director Gunter Engelmann-Merkel summed up his interim balance on Sunday. However, in view of the dramatic events in Dresden, one cannot speak of a carefree shopping spree at the weekend. A 40-year-old man with two hostages holed up in Dresden's Altmarkt-Galerie on Saturday. When the police attacked him, he was seriously injured and later died. The hostages - a 9-year-old child and an employee (38) - were unharmed.
The damage to the Altmarkt-Galerie, which remained closed throughout the day, was great, Engelmann-Merkel told the German Press Agency. But it is much more important that the two hostages are unharmed and that other visitors in the vicinity of the gallery and the adjacent Striezelmarkt were not injured. "Nevertheless, we can't talk happily about the Christmas business."
When looking at the Christmas business throughout Saxony, the positive trend of the two previous weekends continued, said Engelmann-Merkel. The dealers also play the current weather conditions into the cards. "Many buy winter clothes for themselves or as gifts." Toys of all kinds, electronic products, perfumes, books and leather goods are also often bought. Grocery stores are also happy.
"The proportion of satisfied dealers is increasing. A large part is hoping that the trend will continue until Christmas Eve and beyond until the end of the year," said the managing director. In any case, the business cannot be compared with the two previous years in which the corona pandemic severely restricted trade: "Now the anticipation of a carefree celebration is undisturbed. You can also see that at the Christmas markets." There are already dealers who compare their business with the time before Corona.
"But the fear that customers will spend less money because of rising costs for energy and food cannot be completely ignored," emphasized Engelmann-Merkel. Last but not least, rising prices are a cost factor for the retail trade, because the prices for energy and logistics, for example, have also risen for them. Therefore, a certain reluctance to buy was expected. However, the fears did not materialize to the extent expected.
According to Elbe-Park boss Knabe, a change in buyer behavior is noticeable due to the price development. "70 percent of our customers come from the area around Dresden. The price of petrol also plays a role there." That's why there are currently more "need purchases instead of pleasure purchases".