Despite Covid-19, most GFA members experienced a positive first quarter of 2020 business wise. Some members even experienced a very unexpected growth. This was mainly due to the (public) project sector where many orders were brought forward. These effects have had a positive impact on sales. On the other hand, in the private sector many works were postponed or even canceled. However in other countries a strict lockdown closed down the business for a while and in consequence it suffered a lot, like for example in Italy.
Most governments of the members states have implemented many programs to help out most market sectors, like wage subsidies for companies and rent subsidy for small business. However the unemployment rate has gone up very fast, as many companies decided they could not sustain their workforce at the current business levels, despite the government help.
Most GFA members have adopted the required safety measures and are doing well given the circumstances. However the greatest danger which is largely beyond our control, is maintaining demand levels. Many customers will not survive, which will affect the business, how many of them however is too early to quantify. All depends on their creativity and adaptability. GFA is of course aware that Covid-19 and government restrictions are factors out of control of the customers.
Renovations at home and the postponement or canceling of many vacations on the other hand are positive factors which the retail can use for their benefit. The (semi) lockdown has brought the focus of the consumer to the interior which has been noticeable throughout several countries. Flooring retail has found new ways in attracting customers via the internet with ‘roomview’ programs and custom made appointments. All and all very positive signs. Stay creative and distinguish and show yourself.
People have adopted the so called 'New Now’. And with the many officially implemented restrictions, life seems to slowly start up again. On the other hand, we are aware there is a lot of personal suffering due to the Corona virus. GFA is positive regarding the lifting of some of the lockdown restrictions but warns those to be strictly monitored on a national and even regional base to avoid an unpleasant and unwanted outcome.
GFA notices the cancellation of many trade fairs throughout the world. This is understandable. GFA sincerely hopes Domotex 2021 and Bau 2021 will go on with the participation of many representative exhibitors on flooring worldwide. It would be a positive signal for the flooring trade. But the conditions have to be safe. Maybe much is possible for example with a system of one way ‘controlled routing’. GFA will keep monitoring the worldwide situation and will adopt required measures where needed.
More information regarding Global Flooring Alliance can be acquired via the website www.globalflooringalliance.com