This week, the traditional winter sales have started. Not only the retailers themselves, but also the cities do their absolute best to make things as pleasant as possible for the customer. After the lack of enthusiasm from shoppers last year, due to the terrorist attacks in Brussels, the capital has now made a major effort. The skating rinks will be open until later at night and if you came by car the first day of the sales, you could park for free. In Antwerp, too, the sales Sunday, winter barbecue and the ending of Winter in Antwerp ensure a varied shopping experience.
The parking rule was proposed by council member of Trade Marion Lemesre (MR), and it has clearly paid off: the Nieuwstraat was pleasantly crowded on the first day of the sales. Consumers are obviously enthusiastic about shopping in the city centre: the Nieuwstraat offers a lot of different stores and thanks to public transport, the shopping street is easily accessible. The retailers of Brussels immediately offered discounts up to 30%.
In Leuven, positive comments are heard. The merchant of a shop in the Bondgenotenlaan describes the first day of the sales already as a success. In Kortrijk the day started rather calmly, but it soon became busier in the afternoon. The upcoming days, more shoppers are expected. In Kortrijk retailers are already offering remarkably high discounts, up to 50%.
In Antwerp, too, prospects are good. The upcoming days, many customers and good promotions are expected. The Mode Unie (Fashion Union), the federation for the self-employed fashion merchants, expects many customers to shop for winter clothing. Council member of Middle Class Koen Kennis (N-VA) tells GVA that he is positive. This Sunday, Antwerp will have another sales Sunday, as well as the long expected winter barbecue and the ending of Winter in Antwerp. This kind of events automatically attracts a lot of people.
In the brand new shopping centre Docks Bruxsel, the first day of the sales was remarkably quiet. According to Alain Berlinblau of the merchant union of Brussels, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The mall is situated in the northern periphery of Brussels, which is often plagued by terrible traffic jams, Berlinblau tells Het Nieuwsblad. Besides that, Docks includes many retailers that can also be found in the city centre. However, the restaurants, beautiful architecture and atmosphere of the inner-city transform a regular shopping spree into a real experience. According to Berlinblau, the choice of the customer is easily made.
Recent research, done by Qrf City Retail in collaboration with Q&A, has already shown that for the buying of fashion items – traditionally very popular during the sales periods – Belgians prefer the inner-city to the periphery. For more information, you can read the full research report.