Worry not, dear goyim.
Once the quarantine is over, everything will go back to normal, and the line will go up again.
More than a month after the coronavirus lockdown forced them to suspend sales, auto showrooms—like small shops and certain retail sectors such as florists and DIY stores—are largely open to the public again. But customers are few and far between.
“Since Monday, I think we have had 10 customers in the showroom,” says Joachim Niersmann, manager of La Linea showroom in Saarbrücken, near the German border with France, on Wednesday afternoon. In better times, the normal footfall would have been on the order of 20 to 25 customers a day.
“Nobody has come by this morning,” says Rasoul Behkalam, owner of Damax Automobile Berlin in the capital’s Wilmersdorf district, also on Wednesday—the Berlin authorities only allowed limited store reopenings for the first time on that day. “People are distancing. We don’t expect much business this year.”
The dealers’ experience highlights one of the many problems facing businesses even once they are allowed to reopen—customer confidence around Europe remains desperately low as the scale of the economic fallout becomes ever more apparent, and as uncertainty remains over the trajectory of coronavirus infections.
There’s no mistaking how bad the crisis has been for Germany’s auto sector, and indeed for the wider economy—IHS Markit’s economic-activity statistics, released Thursday, showed a record low that far outstripped analysts’ fears. At the start of April, Germany’s vehicle licensing authority said March car sales were down 38% year on year. In March, industry veteran Ferdinand Dudenhöffer of the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland told Fortune that the Western European market for passenger cars would take around a decade to return to pre-crisis levels.
My apologies, cherished goyim.
German consumers are counting their pennies rather than returning to shop in large numbers as stores gradually reopen after being locked down during the coronavirus crisis, the national retailers association said on Wednesday.
Europe’s largest economy allowed stores of up to 8,600 square feet to open again from Monday, along with car and bicycle dealers and bookstores, provided they adhere to strict social distancing and hygiene rules.
On Wednesday, larger furniture outlets were also allowed to open in the western state of North Rhine Westphalia, such as 11 stores of Swedish chain Ikea.
“It was very relaxed, there were no lines, there were no crowds,” said Stefan Stukenborg, head of an Ikea branch on the outskirts of the western German city of Cologne.
The HDE association said the mood among shoppers remained very subdued due to concerns about jobs and finances. “Consumers are in a crisis mode, consumer sentiment is in the doldrums,” a spokesman said.
Yeah, maybe it’s because everyone has no money, and has no idea if they are going to have a job once quarantine ends.
If you think there’s a lot of unemployment now (in America the government is saying 26 million and rising, and the real number is always higher), just wait until all of the businesses that have frozen operations and furloughed employees open back up, and discover that there are no consumers left to sell anything to.