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Corona crisis: EDRA against the closure of DIY stores

17-Apr-2020

DIY stores and garden centres stock many items that are essential in these present days and thus fall under basic human supplies. – Photo: R.Moers

DIY stores and garden centres stock many items that are essential in these present days and thus fall under basic human supplies. – Photo: R.Moers

The European DIY stores association is underlining the fact that DIY stores must also be classified as indispensable retail outlets during the current Corona crisis.

The world is without question faced with one of the biggest challenges of the past decades as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to slow down the spread of the virus, the governments around the globe are relying on social distance. Institutions such as schools, universities, theatres, restaurants as well as many retail outlets thus remain closed in many countries. With the exception of, as a rule, supermarkets and other food providers, chemists, drugstores and banks.

Regarding DIY stores and garden centres very different regulations currently apply throughout Europe. They remain open in some countries, whereas in others they have been forced to close. There is no uniform picture in Germany either: Sales in general are still ongoing in most of the 16 states. Bavaria, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony have however limited the admission. Goods are now only allowed to be sold to tradesmen and craftsmen.

Appeal to the politicians

EuroCommerce, the voice of the European retail trade in Brussels already appealed to the EU Government on 18 March 2020 to classify DIY stores as being system-relevant and thus prevent them from being closed. The Europe DIY Retail Association (EDRA) and the Global Home Improvement Network (GHIN) have now reinforced this demand. The press declaration stated that DIY stores and garden centres stock many items that are essential in these present days or which could become so and thus fall under basic human supplies. For example, wood and charcoal are cited, which citizens without central heating are dependent on or gas cylinders, which many people need for cooking. Furthermore, most DIY stores stock cleaning agents, household and pet supplies as well as replacement materials for necessary repairs – from door locks to taps. Plexiglas, foils and barrier materials that are needed to build protective devices are also found among the line-ups of DIY stores. Of course, many customers are also buying building materials and garden items at the moment. But one can fully understand that they are looking for projects that they can occupy themselves with at home to compensate for the forbidden leisure and outdoor activities.

John W. Herbert, EDRA/GHIN General Secretary – Photo: EDRA

John W. Herbert, EDRA/GHIN General Secretary – Photo: EDRA

Top priority

"Our absolute top priority lies during this time in protecting our customers' and employees' health," commented John W. Herbert, EDRA/GHIN General Secretary. "We can secure the demanded necessary distance between people by implementing corresponding measures, for example the significant reduction of the number of customers in the shops."

Suspension of new EU provisions

As well as keeping the DIY stores and garden centres open, the EDRA is also urging the European Commission to suspend the implementation of new EU provisions for a certain period of time. Noting that the majority of the companies are currently under enormous pressure due to the Corona pandemic and the respective measures that have to be heeded, which would make it difficult for them to additionally implement new provisions during such times.

European industry umbrella association

The trade association, EDRA, was primarily not founded for times of crisis such as these, but indeed to create a network within the European DIY industry. Its key tasks are the cooperation on cross-state relevant industry themes, political lobby work in Brussels as well as the exchange of information between the members. With its offices in different cities the association always has its finger on the pulse of time, is in contact with almost every DIY company and thus enables the exchange of ideas. Tours are regularly organised for the members, which enable them to get to know stores in other countries and new shop concepts.

The foundation of EDRA in the year 2002 was based on an initiative of the German Retailers' Association for Building, Home Improvement and Gardens (BHB) and the French association, Fédération des Magasins de Bricolage et de L'Aménagement de la Maison (FMB). Today the association's members include 140 DIY stores from 27 countries of the European Economic Area (EEA). They are mostly represented by the national trade associations.

Worldwide network

Since 2015, all EDRA members have also been members of the Global Home Improvement Network (GHIN), which has 214 member companies worldwide that operate in 74 countries in total. Overall, the members of the global network run over 30,000 home improvement stores.

Global DIY Summit 2020 postponed

A few years ago, together with its supply chain partner, fediyma, EDRA established the Global DIY Summit for the DIY industry. The 8th DIY Summit was actually scheduled to take place in Amsterdam in mid-June. The Corona crisis has however also toppled this industry get-together. Currently, in coordination with the sponsors, participants and speakers the organisers are looking for a new venue date. Further information on this matter will be published during the next few weeks. The following statement is posted on the website: "Postponing the DIY Summit to a later date will enable us to conduct the event in its full capacity and offer our members and partners the quality, which we strive to achieve with each of our events." "We are expecting the next Global DIY Summit to be the best event we have ever organised."

For further information see: edra-ghin.org and diysummit.org

Author: Roland Moers

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