Czech stores welcome shoppers after four-month closure

Shops around the Czech Republic opened on Monday after being closed for more than four months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the turnout was higher than usual, queues formed only occasionally outside larger stores.

Some of the larger discount chains, such as KiK, extended their opening hours to help prevent crowding.

According to the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism, the turnout in shops on the first day of their reopening was about 25 percent higher than on regular Mondays.

However, the real test of customers’ loyalty will be the upcoming weekend, when many retailers plan to introduce discounts, head of the Czech Confederation Commerce and Tourism Tomáš Prouza told the Czech News Agency.

"It will be clear in about a month whether people have just been doing postponed purchases or whether they have actually returned for good," Mr Prouza said.

According to Mr Prouza, many customers will continue to buy certain products, such as toys, electronics or cosmetics, online. However, for such products as clothes, shoes, but also furniture and home accessories, people will still prefer to visit brick-and-mortar stores.

Apart from stores, the government has also allowed the reopening of hairdressers, barber shops and other personal care services which have been closed for six months, under strict hygiene conditions.

According to the director of Slevomat, the largest daily deal/bulk discount website on the Czech market, Ladislav Veselý, some of the services have seen a huge surge in bookings.

“The demand for bookings to hair salons, beauty parlours and massage salons is huge. Over the past week, it went up by nearly 200 percent,” he told the Czech News Agency.