Ockert MD says 2020 will be year of survival for many businesses
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The head of a top European supplier of fishing tackle has called 2020 the year of survival for many businesses within the industry.
As the Coronavirus continues to leave a deadly trail across the world, Jan Willenbruch, Managing Director of Germany-based Ockert, the supplier of line and rods for the fishing industry, has warned that the current crisis will leave many victims in its wake.
Willenbruch added that for the fishing industry the Coronavirus pandemic could not have come at a worse time. He said: “The fishing season starts now, but most tackle shops across Europe are closed.
“Fishing is allowed in Germany, but there are no tackle shops open to service demand. Online is the only way to get product and digital sales will grow as never before. That will put extra pressure on retailers.
“Many of them are simply surviving because suppliers are helping them. The Coronavirus could be the catalyst that sees many not opening again. The figure could be as many as 20%.
“It is bricks-and-mortar stores that are currently feeling the pain, but it will affect everyone in the chain further down the line. Wholesalers will be next because now is about the time when they expect to get paid, followed by manufacturers.
“Manufacturing in China was closed for more than two months at the beginning of the year – many suppliers are still not back up to speed even now – and I believe we will see a lot of factories closing in the region.”
Despite all the gloom, Willenbruch is reporting that business continues almost as usual for Ockert. “Our production facility in Hungary is still in operation. Although demand for fishing product is currently low, our customers in other sectors – notably automotive and especially the medical industries – which use our braids and monos, have maintained the same levels and in some cases are ordering more because they are concerned about the effects of a shutdown in production.”
An unexpected side-effect of the Coronavirus for Ockert has been demand for its products to make elastic bands and other materials to be used in the construction of face masks. “Most products are made in China, but we have been getting enquiries from companies looking for suppliers that can deliver faster and closer to home.”