While physical stores are still open in Germany, with some restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, statistics show that customer traffic has declined dramatically in city centers, threatening the survival of many retailers. As in the U.K. and other countries, many customers are preferring to order products online for the sake of convenience and to avoid contamination.

The ANWR Group has reacted by launching a nationwide campaign on social media to encourage local shopping at the end of November in association with the Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof (GKK) group. Developed in cooperation with an advertising agency, Brandcom Group, it tells people: “Kauf lokal. jetzt!” (buy local. now!).

All the companies belonging to ANWR or affiliated with its buying groups are participating in the campaign: Sport 2000, ANWR Schuh, Goldkrone, Rexor, Schuh Mücke, Aktivbank, DZB Bank and the online platform schuhe.de. The same for GKK, which owns the Galeria Kaufhof and Karstadt department stores as well as the Karstadt Sports and SportScheck chains. A German jeweler, Christ, has also joined the initiative.

Each retailer can download the motifs of the campaign from the www.kauf-lokal.jetzt website, share them and add more text.

The initiators of the program want to raise people’s awareness of the fact that the traditional shopping behavior is crucial for maintaining the vitality of Germany’s city centers, particularly during the important Christmas period. It is important “that people don’t just now order thoughtlessly from pure online shoppers and then wonder why the stores in their city are closing,” says ANWR in a press release. The duration of the campaign is open “because the problem of the inner cities will not be solved in 2021,” it continues.

The kauf-lokal.jetzt campaign platform should not be confused with a shopping platform, www.kauflokal.com, which was launched by some retailers in Munich during the first coronavirus-related retail lockdown in the spring. They have since been joined by many other traditional retailers such as Hirmer, Ludwig Beck and Sport Schuster. Initiatives to strengthen local retailing have also been launched in Austria and possibly other countries.