Rainer Angstl, the manager of Sport Schuster in Munich, and the managing directors of more than 170 other German sports retailers that depend heavily on the winter sports business have signed an open letter to the federal government, asking for subsidies based on the monthly gross profits that they are losing because of the current retail lockdown, which has been extended until the end of January. The letter has been endorsed by major ski suppliers as well as BSI and VDS, the German associations of sporting goods vendors and retailers.

The German retail industry association (HDE) has already asked the government for bridging aid comparable to what restaurants are getting for lost sales. While supporting the request, the signatories of the open letter indicate that it’s not going to be sufficient to cover the annual fixed costs of some 1,400 sports retailers that offer winter sports products because the period from November to February makes up more than 60 percent of their annual turnover. Out of them, about 250 are pure winter sports specialists, and about 20 percent of total sports-related consumer spending of €83.4 billion is attributable to winter sports, the letter says.

The winter sports sector is largely dependent on tourism, but German tourists have been prevented from visiting countries like Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy since October, and the current retail lockdown has been making things worse. The signatories mention year-on-year sales declines of about 50 percent in October, 70 percent in November and 80 to 90 percent in December.

We have already reported about the extension of a ban on ski facilities in Italy. It seems likely that the French government will also extend its ban, which was supposed to finish today.