Traders in the capital are enjoying a “relatively good” trading season. But there are “too many beggars” and more and more thefts in shops in the city center, according to the president of the Luxembourg City Business Association, interviewed by our colleagues from RTL Radio on Tuesday morning.
“Insecurity is currently one of the biggest problems” for traders in the city, Mireille Rahmé-Bley, president of the Association of Entrepreneurs of the City of Luxembourg (UCVL), told RTL Radio on Tuesday. It is undoubtedly a “recurring problem at the central station, but which we have not seen to this extent in the city center. And the scale of the phenomenon is growing”, she said. declared.
Rahmé-Bley highlights two phenomena in particular: organized begging and shoplifting. The president of the UCVL speaks of “beggar tourism”. Beggars “are part of a city, and we have always had them”, she says, before adding, “but it cannot be that people come from abroad to Luxembourg City on purpose to sit in every corner of the city”.
The problem is that “there are just too many right now”. And if there are so many in the streets of the capital, according to Rahmé-Bley, it is because “there is a lot of money to be made here, otherwise there wouldn’t be so much”. A little over a year from the municipal elections, the elected officials of the municipality “must do something”, according to the president of the UCVL.
“Shoplifting is a growing concern”
Rahmé-Bley wonders what shopkeepers are supposed to say to their customers: “Come to town, but don’t wear a watch and leave your jewelry at home and watch your wallet…”
Shoplifting, in addition to begging, is a “growing concern”. Store owners told Rahmé-Bley that “there is a lot of shoplifting in stores.” Large businesses have a security service, “but small businesses cannot afford it”, specifies the president of the UCVL.
Rahmé-Bley recognizes the usefulness of the injunction granted to the police since the corresponding law was passed in July, but the by your side (“by your side”) launched by the non-profit Inter-Actions provides concrete help to salon owners.
The “big names” needed to revive the activity of the station
Insecurity, the tram construction site, expensive commercial leases and the opening of the Cloche d’Or shopping center “have kept traders away from the central station”, explained the president of the UCVL.
If there is “a real demand” to open a business in the city center, the district around the central station is “more problematic”.
The avenue de la Liberté is “very beautiful” today, but in the avenue de la Gare “there are really a lot of empty shops”. This is particularly unfortunate, Rahmé-Bley said, because these are “relatively large stores”. “One or two ‘big names’ should take over and “make others want to settle down”, she suggests.
A “good” season all the same
The commercial season was “relatively good” and “sales also went well”, recognizes Rahmé-Bley. This was mainly due to a “very hot summer” and the “return of tourists”. But it’s also partly because people are “craving” to go out and consume after two years of Covid-19 restrictions.
People “spend their money differently”, according to the president of the UCVL, who adds that “people calculate more and buy in a more targeted way”. Everything becomes more expensive, including food, “which has repercussions on the catering sector in particular”.
Rahmé-Bley said most traders “are very happy with the street market”. To compete with shopping centres, UCVL decided to extend the Great Sale Saturday and Sunday, but with the message that “the real clearance sale with outdoor stands takes place on Mondays”. On Saturday, businesses “could take out a few lockers”. On Sundays, the UCVL “always has the same problem that not many businesses participate,” Rahmé-Bley said. But this time, those who participated “were very happy with their Sunday sales.”