Sales in the Spanish DIY and hardware trade were down by "only" 2.96 per cent in May as compared with May 2019. In a press release, the AECOC retail association stresses the "only", because in April the downturn came to 75.4 per cent and in the first quarter it was 9.3 per cent. Most businesses in Spain were closed for weeks on end due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On reopening, which occurred at different times in different regions, the big-box home improvement stores made up the most ground, with sales in May trailing those of the same period in the previous year by just 0.6 per cent. In April, they were impacted more heavily than traditional hardware shops, seeing a drop in sales of 81.4 per cent as compared with a 49.6 per cent downturn for the latter. The fall in sales in May was 3.3 per cent.
Garden products were in particular demand following reopening and sales rocketed, with triple-digit growth rates. "But the rest of the product families are also registering double-digit increases, which is taking the sector to historic turnover records," says Alejandro Lozano, head of hardware and DIY at AECOC.
According to the association, the sector now faces the challenge of avoiding supply bottlenecks and keeping shelves stocked. This also applies especially to the manufacturers, who had to reduce production extensively during the crisis.
While caution prevails with regard to forecasts for the rest of the year - AECOC expected a sales trend of between 0 and minus 5 per cent for the first six months of 2020 - it appears certain that online retailing will retain the key role it has assumed during the crisis. Whereas the online share of sales was between 6 and 10 per cent previously depending on the company, e-commerce accounted for 80 per cent of sales in the sector in March.
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