Faro's local trade resists crisis and plans for the future

Faro's local trade resists crisis and plans for the future


Shop for the longest time in business in the city center – more than 100 years – plans for the future …

Local commerce in downtown Faro seeks to resist the restrictions imposed by combating the covid-19 pandemic and even the longest-running store in the city center keeps its doors open and plans for the future.

With more than 100 years of existence, Casa Verde is a landmark in the so-called “street of shops” of the Algarve capital, all you have to do is enter it so that the architecture, the woods that decorate it or the smell of fabrics refer to visits with your grandmother or the mother to the old haberdasheries.

Closed by government imposition, the store doors opened again as soon as “it was possible”, despite the restrictions and uncertainties posed by measures to combat the pandemic of the covid-19, the manager, Fernando Matos told Lusa.

“We are going to hold out minimally, but it is not easy for anyone. You can see by the size of the ‘bug’ [loja], that what is here is not easy. We are pulling by the head, instead of buying, keeping [o stock], to then make ends meet. It's all a stick with two beaks, ”he says.

For Fernando Matos, it will not be worth “opening now to save the situation” if they have to close again. Since it was decided to start a new phase of the deflation, people should “protect themselves” as much as possible, so that it is not necessary to close again, which would not be “easy”.

Employees returned from the "layoff"

The employees who were in "lay-off" returned as soon as the activity resumed, with no staff cuts, and despite the few customers in the store, they do not stop for a minute, with the time to be used to "make the inventory".

Between fabrics by the meter, shirts, underwear and a huge pallet of ribbons or button formats, access to part of the store had to be conditioned so that it could fit into the establishments up to 200 square meters, which was allowed to open in the second phase. of the lack of definition.

The current movement makes it possible to “make ends meet” and keep all employees active, working “as they can”, but Fernando Matos says he feels that “the economy had a very sharp drop in this second phase”, compared to last year.

It is at the opposite end of the “Rua das Lojas”, already in a more modern area, that the Lusa agency report finds another example of resilience: one of the 11 stores in a shoe chain in the Algarve that will keep “all 34 employees”, reveals the owner to Lusa.

In a business whose dynamics depend on changes in the “season”, there was a need to manage the collections “according to the current situation” using the “dialogue” and the “understanding” of the suppliers, pointed out Manuel Silvestre.

Orders placed required understanding with suppliers

“The orders were already made. We caused some difficulties for some of our suppliers and sought an understanding to reduce the quantities. Some will remain and ended up offering us a longer term [para pagar]”, He says.

At the store, customers are already looking for shoes from the new summer collection, but in relation to the future, the reality of the countries that emit tourists and the fight against the pandemic do not bring “encouragement” to Manuel Silvestre, who considers that only at the “end of the summer, beginning of winter ”the situation may“ begin to attenuate ”.

The Association of Commerce and Services of the Algarve Region (ACRAL) is monitoring the difficulties of the sector and has a survey on the ground to survey the reality and the main needs of entrepreneurs.

ACRAL's president, Paulo Alentejano, points out to Lusa that the vast majority of trade and services will “resume and open up”, but warns of the “great uncertainty in the air” about whether or not there will be a new wave, which may to be “a daredevil and to compromise the summer”.

For that person, there is an “expectation” that the summer may have movement and it is possible to “recover something” from a situation that has been “aggravated in the last few months”.

If this is not the case, the region will go on to its “third consecutive winter”, leading to the “closing of companies and redundancies” and to a “possible social crisis”.

“There have been companies that have already closed. Honestly, I think people are trying their last oxygen balloon in this resumption and, if there is a summer that 'sees itself', save the situation ”, he calculates.

Moratoriums and "layoffs" are themes on the table

The official says there are, at this moment, "several issues on the table", such as the moratoriums, "which must be extended" or the "lay off" situation that "must be framed with the next low season".

"We are currently living in great uncertainty, we are unable to envision the future and consolidate a business plan to move forward in the coming months, because we do not know what awaits us", emphasizes the president of ACRAL.

As for the support program for the region announced in July 2020 by the Government, Paulo Alentejano says that "nothing has reached companies" and that nothing is expected in the short term, comparing the situation to "the cure that comes after the patient has already died".

“The Algarve has its own characteristics, it has a comprehensive tourism sector that cuts across the entire economy and is suffering from one end to the other, in all sectors”, he laments.

ACRAL is going to create a support office for small business owners, who often do not have “time and access to legislation” that comes out “loose, uncoordinated and barely understandable”.

“There is a general uncertainty regarding the whole process, which does not allow us to look forward to anything in the future. We are in a situation of ‘pushing with the belly’ and seeing how the business is managed on a daily basis ”, he concludes.

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