Business

Centauro, Arezzo and shopping malls executives: Impact on retail is immense and Brazil's government needs to respond now

According to them, the Brazilian government needs to help companies soon, "not in 60 or 90 days"

In a live held by XP Investimentos, Brazilian retail executives said that the impact of the pandemic on sales in the sector is immense.
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In a live held by XP Investimentos, Brazilian retail executives said that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on sales in the sector is immense. They also said that despite the entire war operation set up to boost online sales and allow the population and employees to stay at home longer, the Brazilian government needs to help companies soon, “not in 60 or 90 days”.

Alexandre Birman, CEO at Arezzo (which is responsible for managing Vans suppliers, logistics, distribution, franchising, e-commerce and retail expansion in Brazil), said that the company reduced Arezzo’s board salary by 30%, including the CEO’s salary, to allocate this money with a focus on maintaining operations and employees.

Right now, jobs need to be secured. We have to face this crisis thinking about dismissal as the last alternative

Alexandre Birman, CEO at Arezzo.

READ ABOUT COVID-19 and its impacts in Latin American businesses

Birman also said that Arezzo is already in the final stage of tests to manufacture masks. The idea is to donate the equipments on a large scale to hospitals and to those most in need.

Birman said that if he could choose a counterpart from the Brazilian government at this point, it would be financing for the payroll. According to him, the last thing businessmen in the sector are thinking about right now is dismissal. “If the government can take action now, it has to be payroll financing, so that small business owners can pay April wages.”

Also on Tuesday, in a another webinar, In Hsieh, co-founder of Chinnovation and former head of e-commerce at Xiaomi LatAm, said that partnerships between industries in other branches taking advantage of their idle production lines to manufacture equipment to meet the fight against the pandemic were one of the strengths of cooperation in China, and it is only natural that this will also happen in Latin America.

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The founder and chairman of the Board of Directors of the sporting goods retailer Centauro, Sebastião Bomfin, said that he opened Centauro’s marketplace, originally focused on sports products, for entrepreneurs and companies that sell basic products. “With this, we help in the operation of small retailers and also the people who need even more of these products in this crisis,” said the executive during XP’s live.

Bomfin was emphatic in demanding compensation from the Brazilian government.

The government needs to understand that it is co-responsible for our payrolls. We need urgent help to settle the payment for the next 5 days. In 60, 90 days, it will not do

SEBASTIÃO BOMFIN, founder and chairman at Centauro.

READ ALSO: To fight the spread of COVID-19, retail chains close stores across Latin America

Two executives from two large groups that manage shopping malls in Brazil, Aliansce Sonae and Iguatemi, also said they had taken steps to mitigate the effects of forced store closures. One of them is the suspension of the condominium fee payment by tenants.

According to the sector association in Brazil, Abrasce, 550 malls across the country are shut – 95% of the total.

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Carlos Jereissati Filho, CEO of the Iguatemi group, also spoke about the need for the Brazilian government to act soon to help companies, the real economy.

“We were all put at home by an emergency outside of our business,” he said, stressing that measures to bail out companies and the most vulnerable people need to be detailed and put in place soon.

“As in 2008, the Central Bank took several measures to guarantee liquidity in the market. But it is necessary to act on the fiscal side, on spending now (to help those in need). If (the Health Minister) Mandetta is a great communicator in the health field, where’s the guy (from the government) who also needs to present the necessary measures in the economy?, he added.