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Non-food retailers are closing stores in Romania amid Covid-19 restrictions

Many non-food retailers in Romania have decided to discontinue operations in their physical outlets and move online, where possible.

Polish discount fashion and home decor retailer Pepco, Danish furniture and home decor retailer JYSK, German footwear retailer Deichmann, French sports retailer Decathlon, and French DIY retailer Leroy Merlin are among those who announced on March 23 that their physical stores will be closed in the following weeks.

At the same time, most of them invited customers to use the online stores - which is feasible for at least part of them.

Swedish furniture retailer Ikea was among the first to close its physical stores in Romania.

While some of the non-food retailers can hope to continue operations online, like Deichmann or Decathlon, others don’t have such plans and their sales will plunge sharply.

Polish discount chain Pepco, present in Romania with 200 shopping centers, has announced that it will temporarily close all Romanian stores while its online presence is close to non-existent.

A special segment of the non-food retailers has not shut down offline operations - namely the electro-IT retailers like Altex or Flanco. Both run significant online divisions and would not be particularly hurt by closing down their physical stores. Sales of electro-IT equipment have increased significantly on some segments, such as laptops, TV sets, and video game consoles, as schools in Romania are closed and many employees work from home due to Covid-19 restrictions.

More retailers are likely to announce the closing of their local stores after the authorities have closed down shopping malls as of Monday, March 23.

Non-food sales are likely to see a deep plunge in March and in the months to come before normal life is re-established, as opposed to food sales that enjoy robust demand - albeit possibly logistic problems on the downside.