The annoyance with Douglas has hardly disappeared, as other retail chains open their shops despite the lockdown: The discounter Action offers part of its range for sale in several federal states, and Mäc-Geiz does not close its shops either.
Douglas closed again, action and Mäc-greed for it: Other retail companies are trying to bypass the tough lockdown in Germany. After the trouble with the perfumery chain, the Dutch non-food discounter Action is now opening a large part of its branches in Germany. The stores of the cheap chain Mäc-Geiz will not close either. The reasoning is similar to that of Douglas: Both dealers sold everyday necessities, such as hygiene articles and groceries.
In response to a request from t-online, an Action spokeswoman said on Thursday: “Today, around 300 Action branches have reopened with increased security measures and a limited range of important everyday products.” Action is based on the requirements of the respective federal states.
“This means that we will open our branches in some federal states, not in others,” said the spokeswoman. For example, the shops in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia are open. Action shops were also open in Berlin on Thursday. It is different in Rhineland-Palatinate: Action only offers its customers to pick up previous orders.
Revenue at the expense of fighting pandemics?
Action operates around 400 branches in Germany, comes from the Netherlands and is a so-called non-food discounter. That means: In addition to permanent stock items, Action mainly sells numerous special items at low prices. The range includes decoration, toys, office supplies, fashion – but also cleaning products, shower gel, shampoos, pet food and sweets.
The spokeswoman also refers to the latter products. “In accordance with the corona protection requirements, Action only sells important everyday products such as groceries, hygiene products and animal feed,” she said. “All other product groups are hung with foil in the branches and temporarily deactivated in the cash register systems.”
Something similar can be read on the Mäc-Geiz website. There it says: “Our branches are still open for you and offer you everyday items.” Of the around 300 locations, only eight are closed in Brandenburg, Thuringia and Saxony. A customer told t-online that in a Berlin Mäc-Geiz numerous shelves with more durable products were suspended, only everyday consumer goods were on offer.
Relief for other supermarkets
This is how Douglas had proceeded in some branches on Wednesday, the first day of lockdown – and caused anger from customers and unions. A representative of the service union Verdi spoke on the phone with t-online of a “farce” and of the targeted circumvention of the corona shutdown in retail. The direct and indirect accusation of the critics: For the sake of profit, the companies risked an increase in the number of corona infections, as they increased the likelihood of human contact in the business.
The Action spokeswoman contradicts that the opposite is the case: Action contributes to the nationwide range of products for everyday use and thus ensures the basic supply of consumers. “On the other hand, the risk of contamination for consumers is reduced,” she said. “Because the larger the total sales area in all of Germany, the lower the rush to a few shops and the more consumers are spread across different urban areas.”
And further: “By leaving our branches open, we are not only giving consumers another option to get essential goods, but also taking some of the pressure off supermarkets and drugstores.”