The last weekend before Christmas has been a disappointing one for Belgian retailers: there were 20 % fewer electronic payments during the shopping Sunday compared to the year before, while electronic payments have experienced issues on Saturday.
"Too much time, too much eCommerce"
On Sunday, at 15h30, there had been some 1.3 million electronic payments, considerably lower than the year before. Trade federation Comeos believes there were several reasons for the drop: the last weekend before Christmas was closer to 25 December last year, while people now still have until Wednesday to shop. The additional time mainly affects food sales.
ECommerce has also definitely impacted store sales: "That does not have to pose a problem for retailers that can recover part of the lost sales through their own web shop. For those that cannot do that, sales will drop even more", Comeos said.
On top of that, Saturday's payment issues also have impacted sales: no transactions were possible for about an hour, ironically on the day those payments were free of charge, as a compensation for last year's similar problems. "We have no idea how many people decided to stop shopping, postponed their purchase or went online because of the issue." Comeos now demands an independent inquiry into Worldline's problems, while it also considers judicial proceedings.