Chain stores do not understand how to implement the government decree, according to which from January 8 to January 25, the sale of household chemicals, tools, clothing, bulbs, batteries, tobacco products will be prohibited in stores. During the lockdown, the stores are allowed to sell only food, medical supplies, medical products, hygiene products, communications, animal food, veterinary drugs, plant protection products and seeds.
It is unclear how to comply with the Cabinet of Ministers decree banning the sale of non-food products: whether to put ‘Do not cross’ ribbons or empty the shelves with these products.
Olena Holubeva wrote about this in her article with reference to representatives of stores.
“We could protect the sections containing prohibited goods with special tape ‘Do not cross,’ something like the police do. But what if the visitor still grabs a comb or toothbrush from the shelf? Make it impossible for them to get it at the checkout? But making such changes is a huge piece of work!” a representative of a large all-Ukrainian chain store expressed indignation in an interview with 112.ua.
A number of representatives of chains interpret the provisions of the regulation in such a way that prohibited goods not only cannot be sold, but generally kept on the shelves in the trading floor. In this case, it will be impossible to buy things from online stores. "It is possible that a person visits the website, places an order, but the store cannot physically fulfill it, because this product is not on the shelves at that moment. It may not be in the warehouse either, because it makes no sense to stock up on prohibited goods (freezing the circulating capital) without understanding how long the ban will last and if it will be extended," a representative of the chain store explained to 112.ua.
He noted that online orders, which are made through the store, are assembled directly in the store halls, and not in warehouses. This means that even those stores that have their own Internet websites will fall out of competition with specialized websites.
There is also no full understanding on which goods can be sold and which cannot.
The ban on the sale of non-food products against the background of the fact that the sale of food is allowed does make sense, representatives of stores say to 112.ua. According to them, it is necessary either to prohibit everything, or not to take such half-measures. "After all, a person has already entered the trading floor. So how can he be protected from the risk of catching the coronavirus by the decision to buy mayonnaise instead of scissors and a toilet brush, for example?" one of the stores voices doubts. Even the Chief Medical Officer Viktor Lyashko, with whom a meeting at the American Chamber of Commerce was held last week, could not explain the logic of the introduction of such a norm and its practical significance for curbing the coronavirus.
Representatives of stores are outraged that as a result of the government ban they will bear significant losses (from the ban on the sale of part of the assortment), which will amount to millions of hryvnias both for the stores and for their suppliers, including representatives of small and medium-sized businesses. Large Interneternet websites that have never been offline will benefit from the situation.
Back in December, representatives of stores and associations sent appealed to the Cabinet of Ministers. They hope that the issue will be considered at a meeting on January 6 and the norm will either be revised or canceled.