Record retail sales in Denmark after post-lockdown ‘ketchup effect’

Sales of shoes and clothes Denmark leapt by close to 100 percent in May in what the Danish Chamber of Commerce is describing as a post-coronavirus "ketchup effect".

Record retail sales in Denmark after post-lockdown 'ketchup effect'
Danes have been buying shoes like they're going out of fashion (which these Moshi Moshi shoes from 2008 clearly are). Photo: Jan Jørgensen/Ritzau Scanpix
According to Statistics Denmark, retail sales overall rose 9.4 percent in the month after shopping malls were reopened, hitting a new record after the largest month-on-month increase since it first started reporting retail statistics at the start of the year 2000. 
“This is of course positive and clearly shows that the Danes have had the courage to increase consumption as the reopening takes place,” said Tore Stramer, chief economist at the chamber, in a press statement
“However, it must be borne in mind that there has been a saving in consumption that has been let loose in May. So we are also seeing a ketchup effect in consumption.” 
Denmark's government shut down all shopping malls in the country in mid-March, with most high street shops also closing their doors until the restrictions were relaxed on May 11. 
The surge in sales will make up for some of the financial hit taken by Danish retailers during the lockdown, indicating that profits for the year might be less affected than feared. 
But Stramer warned that higher unemployment and a fall in Danish exports would continue to drag on Denmark's economy over the rest of the year, meaning May's bumper sales were unlikely to continue. 

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Danish retailers warn of ‘tsunami of lay-offs’ if malls stay closed

Six Danish trade bodies have warned of "a streak of bankruptcies and "a tsunami of lay-offs" if the country's parties do not rapidly agree to reopen shopping malls.

Danish retailers warn of 'tsunami of lay-offs' if malls stay closed
The Fields shopping mall in Ørestad, Copenhagen, after the closure on March 18. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix
In an joint letter to Danish MPs currently debating the next stage of reopening, Dansk Detail, which represents many of the country's clothing retailers, and five other trade bodies called for malls to be reopened. 
“Time is short,” they wrote. “We cannot wait any longer. Let's together do what's necessary to save thousands of workplaces.” 
In the letter, which was was published in several Danish newspapers, the groups said the six weeks of restrictions had hit their members extremely hard. 
“We faced with the prospect of extensive shop closures and a series of bankruptcies among suppliers and shop-owners,” they wrote.
“We've seen the first ones. Several more will follow. If we do not act now, we are facing a picture so bleak that it will make the financial crisis fade into insignificance.” 
Jens Birkeholm, the Director of both Dansk Detail and the shoe retailer's trade body Skobranchen, tweeted the letter out on Tuesday. 
In a following tweet, he said that less than 15 percent of his members had yet received money from the Danish government under the generous financial rescue package announced last month. 
The letter painted a depressing picture of the industry's conditions, warning that many shops would already struggle to sell their spring collections later in the year. 
“Shops in malls both small and large lie deserted, forced to close, without customers, without staff and without revenues,” the groups wrote. “If our goods aren't sold now, they are worth nothing. That's how it is with the change in seasons.” 
The six groups were Dansk Detail, Skobranchen, DM&T, DSF, Sportsbranchen, and Wear.