Coronavirus: Lockdowns in Europe are a further blow to retailers
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With many countries in Europe in complete lockdown, fishing tackle retailers across the region – already under intense pressure from online competition – are facing a battle for survival.
Bricks and mortar tackle stores across Italy, Spain and France are all currently closed and only businesses with an online presence in those countries are able to trade.
Italy has been the hardest hit with all shops – other than food stores and pharmacies – having been closed for weeks and not due to be reopen until April 3rd at the very earliest. Fishing is impossible as all households have been ordered to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary.
Angling International’s Italian correspondent, Alfio Elio Quattrocchi, said: “Everything is stopped – tackle stores, wholesalers, distributors, importers, charter skippers and fishing guides have ceased all their activities because no one can move freely. It is impossible to predict when the epidemic will end. We can only hope that when it does there will be rapid growth to partially recover from the serious economic damage we have suffered.”
In France, a well-known online retailer is expressing his support for the hard-pressed bricks-and-mortar retailer in a practical way. Sylvain Legendre, of Fish & Ship, said any first-time online customer who cannot buy from his local tackle shop is being asked to identify the business which will then be given 12% cashback.
“It is costing me most of my net margin, but I am convinced that we need a network of bricks-and-mortar stores to promote our passion for fishing. I know that it is not significant, but I feel strongly enough to do something.”