Magazine: So far surviving has been the goal, now the objective is restarting

By: Budai Klára Date: 2020. 08. 05. 07:19

Our magazine interviewed Katalin Neubauer, secretary general of the Hungarian National Trade Association (MNKSZ) about the state of play in retail trade and the influence of the coronavirus pandemic.

MNKSZ logo

TM interjukhoz How did the number of members develop last year and what kind of results did you achieve?

Neubauer Katalin - MNKSZ

Katalin Neubauer
secretary general

– In 2019 and 2020 many new members joined MNKSZ, and not only from the FMCG segment. New members include EuroFamily, BioTechUsa, Alpha-Vet, Dockyard, Heavy Tools and Budmil. Last year we signed a strategic agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture, so that we can better lobby for member interests when new regulations and laws are drafted. This year we plan to enter into similar partnerships with the Ministry for Innovation and Technology and the Ministry of Finance. Perhaps the step members welcomed the most in 2019 was the strategic agreement with National Payment Services (OFSZ), which guarantees tailor-made discounts to MNKSZ members from card payment fees. This is also very important because from 1 January 2021 retailers will have to install an e-payment device with every cash register, and now we are working with OFSZ on creating the best conditions for fulfilling this obligation for members.

TM interjukhoz What was 2019 like for members and what are your plans for 2020?

– Last year was a good one for most FMCG retailers and for retail trade in general, but behind the good sales results there was fierce competition for workforce. Some retailers were forced to close by the pandemic in March 2020, and we are doing everything we can to help them at these difficult times. By April 2020 sales of non-FMCG retailers plunged to 5-25 percent in comparison with last April. MNKSZ’s forecast is that June, July and August will bring a 30-50 percent reduction in sales revenue, and it will take minimum one year for things to get back to normal. Already at the beginning of the lockdown we asked for support from the government in mediating between retailers and landlords, because many of the latter required rent payment from shops, despite the fact that they had no revenue due to reasons that were beyond their control.

Eddig a túlélés volt, most az újraindulás a cél - MNKSZ

Applying the latest methods of payment any Hungarian retailer may keep up with the changing customer needs

TM interjukhoz What is the situation now and what will the recently reintroduced special retail tax bring for the sector?

– Different types of retailers are affected differently by the pandemic period. The best would have been if those retailers had also been granted exemption from social contribution payment that have no or little revenue, like tourism and hospitality businesses did. These retailers found themselves in an even worse situation when the special retail tax was introduced.

TM interjukhoz How can you help members in the current situation?

– We provide them with the latest news relevant for the trade, and inform them about where they can get the necessary protection equipment. It has been an eventful couple of months, but now we can focus on restarting life. Members with financial liquidity and employee keeping problems can get quick funding within the framework of the Széchenyi Card Programme or from other sources.

Eddig a túlélés volt, most az újraindulás a cél - MNKSZ

It takes at least a year until life gets back to normal

TM interjukhoz  What are your objectives for the rest of the year and the future in general?

– We would like to learn about best practices that we can pass on to members – practices that can help them leave the crisis behind. We plan to collect such best practices in both Hungary and abroad; in connection with the latter our Independent Retail Europe membership can be of help. //

Related news