Thursday, October 28

Small businesses are recovering in the EU but not yet in Spain


Barcelonians shopping in a neighborhood store.

Barcelonians shopping in a neighborhood store.
EPC

The retail trade is a sector that in the whole of the European Union (EU) has recovered and even already exceeds the sales levels recorded in the summer prior to the pandemic. However, individually, not all the countries of the 27 club can say the same and Spain is one of the markets that still sell less than they did two years ago. This is confirmed by the data updated this Wednesday by Eurostat, although they reflect an incipient acceleration in Spanish businesses with the arrival of summer.

The ‘retail’ sector sold in June, the latest data updated by Eurostat, in the European Union as a whole, 6.3% more than it sold in June 2019. The recovery after the paralysis and contraction caused Due to the coronavirus, the activity of clothing stores, crafts, music, small appliances and the like has been on the rise for two summers. Already in 2020 the numbers of the most resilient economies of the ‘Old Continent’ showed more sales and the sink did not last long for markets such as Germany O France. Others, like Portugal, in the summer of 2020 they were still dragging the aftermath of the covid but this has already left them behind and bill more than in 2019. And then there is a third group, in which it is counted Spain O Italy, which still sells less than before the virus.

In the month of June, the companies dedicated to the retail trade sold in Spain, their sales volume was 3% lower than in June 2020. Better numbers than in the summer of 2020, when sales were 4.5% below pre-levels. covid, but still without being able to recover that level. Commerce has been one of the sectors particularly affected – along with the hotel industry and, to a greater extent, nightlife – due to the sanitary restrictions applied by the Spanish authorities to stop the contagion of the covid. In Catalonia, for example, the retail trade was during part of the beginning of the year without being able to open on weekends and with capacity restrictions.

Occupancy is not better than in 2019 either

The data of workers in the sector points in an identical direction to that of sales. According to the Social Security data, in Spain there were 1.89 million people employed in the retail sector in June, a number slightly higher than in the summer of 2020 (1.84 million workers); but still below the employment rates of the summer of 2019, when there were 1.94 million active workers. To which should be added a no lesser part of these employees who are affected by a temporary employment regulation file (ERTE), given that companies cannot – either due to restrictions or due to lack of demand – reincorporate them to the exercise. According to the latest data, there are currently 28,661 retail workers throughout Spain on suspension files. These represent 8% of the total affected by erte.




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