Retailing is one of the economic sectors directly affected by the crisis, with the largest number of victims already among its ranks.
In a statement that sounds like a cry for help, 86 retailers have published their SOS. Since the beginning of the confinement on March 18, shops have lowered their curtains and closed their cash drawers. In this press release, entitled “Covid-19 Crisis: Acting on rents to save the business and its jobs” published on 4 May, the collective declared that “faced with the Covid-19 crisis, every economic player must share the essential solidarity efforts. This is a must for a rapid and beneficial end to the crisis for the entire value creation chain in Morocco”.
Threatened Jobs, Stocks of Unsold Goods and Rents to Be Paid
“The stock of unsold goods is exploding”, say the retail shops, which also state that they normally have “the necessary resources to pay their employees and preserve jobs”. Except that in this period of health crisis, normality is not in order. In addition to being forced to close down, the companies are facing another major problem: property owners who are demanding their rent.
“How can you ask for money for a store that can’t open?”. The retailers concerned are outraged at the idea, and have formed a group called the “Moroccan Retailers’ Group” to defend their interests and put pressure on shopping centers that do not accommodate their renters. It is true that these centers have also been badly hurt by the crisis and continue to bear the costs related to maintenance and security of the properties.
As far as retailers are concerned, rent represents one of the main expenses in a store’s operating accounts. “The equation is simple: as we don’t want more counterproductive arbitrage on jobs (the other main expense), property owners must take their part in the collective effort demanded by this crisis through rents,” say the retailers.