Turkey 400 plus strong shopping malls collect timely data on visitor traffic and sales, which is arguably the timeliest indicator of private consumption. While mall investors and shop owners associations disagree on turnover in the first full month of reopening, no matter how one slices it, interest is weak.
After the full opening of the shopping malls, as of June 1, mall investors and retailers remain divided about turnover rates. Shopping mall investors claim that firms have reached 60 percent of regular turnover, while retailers argue that sales remain at 35 percent of pre-pandemic level.
The shopping malls and retailers, which opened partially in May and fully as of June 1, are trying to heal the wounds of the coronavirus. Although the outbreak has calmed down somewhat, its continuation is reflected in consumer behavior. Shopping mall investors claim that, thanks to the safety measures taken, retailers have reached 60 percent of the pre-pandemic in sales. The United Brands Association (BMD), which has more than 400 member companies and collects information about the turnover of the members every week, argues that this rate is around 30 percent.
Hüseyin Altaş, the President of the Shopping Investors Association (AYD), said that the number of visitors reached 40-45 percent compared to before the pandemic, and 60 percent in sales. Expressing that the figures are close to expectations, Altaş said that Father’s Day contributed to the number of visitors by 2 percent and to the turnover by 4 percent. “At the end of June, we achieved 60 percent of the number of visitors before the pandemic and 75 percent of the turnover at the end of June”.
“Retail at 35 percent”
Ready-to-wear clothing brands is one industry which is still suffering. Sinan Öncel, President of the United Brands Association, pointed out that they survey member brands every 10 days, and according to the survey results, the brands have only reached 30-35 percent of the turnover before the pandemic. Öncel said that low tourist arrivals impact the decline, “changes in consumer behavior occurring in Turkey are moving in a similar manner with the rest of the world. People do not shop except for their urgent needs. It will take time for this behavior to return to normal. The share of tourists in ready-to-wear retail is also quite high. The absence of tourists this year is also an important factor in this decline.”
Turnover in tourist resorts is low
With close to 370 stores serving Turkey as well as the US, Germany and in countries such as Canada; denim maker Mavi’s CEO Cuneyt Yavuz said they reached a sales figure close to their expectations. Yavuz said, “Shopping is speeding up visibly, but is it enough? We are coming out of a big crisis and any improvement in shopping regulations and conditions make us happy. Sales differ by region. Sales in cities such as Kayseri on the Anatolian side are similar to pre-pandemic days, but lower in touristic-summer places such as Antalya, İzmir, and the Aegean Line, as well as in shopping malls where tourist turnover is high. If we had reached 50 percent of sales before the pandemic, we would said that it was a good start. We are just over 50 percent now.” Stating that they supported franchisee stores and employment during this period, Yavuz said: “We are operating in Russia, Germany, Canada and the USA with Mavi. There, sales are going parallel with Turkey. We made significant investments in the USA, and we saw the benefit of this. Despite the social restrictions, sales are good. ”
Emphasizing that they also benefit from digitalization in Mavi, Yavuz stated that the sales, which were only 5 percent of total online, increased by 2 times in this period to reach 10 percent.
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