German retailers underwhelmed by first shopping Saturday of crisis

The first weekend shopping day of the pandemic was an underwhelming one in Germany on Saturday, capping the first week in which many shops were allowed reopen following weeks of anti-coronavirus closures.

As has been the case throughout the week, city centres and high streets were much quieter than they be under normal circumstances.

But many shops chose reopen nonetheless.

“Majority of businesses are open, many have used ,’’ a statement from a retailers association in the state of Lower Saxony said.

Similar scenes were reported in other states, Hesse in central Germany, where the Police said the situation was “more than manageable’’.

Queues developed outside certain information technology stores in Berlin.

However, many shops decided stay closed in the capital.

The famous Kurfuerstendamm shopping avenue was relatively empty.

In most of Germany’s 16 states, shops with a surface area of up to 800 square metres were allowed to reopen starting on Monday.

On Friday, the German Retail Association painted a gloomy picture of the impact the pandemic has had on the .

“Revenues lag far behind the previous year’s figures,’’ it said.

“Despite opening up, only an average of 40 cent of the normal business volume is being reached.’’

The figure was based on a survey of 767 retailers nationwide.

More than 154,100 cases of the novel coronavirus have been detected in Germany so far, according to a dpa tally.

At least 5,622 people have died.

Sweeping closures and social-distancing restrictions across the country have succeeded for now in preventing the exponential spread of the virus, with the so-called reproduction number hovering below one.

This is the average number of people an infected individual passes the virus on to.

On Friday, the ’s Robert Koch Institute for disease control reported the figure at 0.9. (dpa/NAN)