Thaifood instead of shoes: bars and gastro chains fill empty shops

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A trend that can also be observed on Zurich's Langstrasse. Picture: Look

Thaifood instead of shoes: bars and gastro chains fill empty shops

Switzerland is dying away the shops. The restaurant is booming – but not everywhere.

niklaus vontobel / switzerland at the weekend

The crisis of the Swiss retail trade has consequences. 3400 small shops have disappeared in five years, that is every tenth store. This is shown by the latest survey of the Federal Statistical Office. Back are empty shop windows. Replacement has to come, and the landlord looks a bit desperate on the restaurant. Coffees or bars could fill the gaps in shopping, including take-aways from Coop or from Migros. International gastro chains come into question that sell burgers or sandwiches. No matter what it is, the main thing, the emptiness fills up.

The hope lives on, because gastro chains are currently competing for free locations in Switzerland. They all have ambitious plans. Do not be spotted, it's time to breathe. The Geneva chain "Luigia" wants to serve new pasta and pizza in 15 stores. Already has 40 shops, the sandwich chain Subway. In 50 places Kentucky wants to bring his fried chicken to the husband, wife or child. The Milanese restaurant chain "Panino Giusto" wants to lure with Italian sandwiches, in 20 places. And in the fight for burgers fans, new branches are opened by "Five Guys", "Holy Cow" or "Hans in luck". Even more grows in Switzerland wants even the industry King McDonalds.

Kentucky Fried Chicken – definitely on the rise. Picture: AP / AP

And the hope lives because the restaurant has recently created jobs. Around 14,000 jobs were added in the last two years. That's an increase of 8 percent. Thus, the gastronomy has set a faster pace than the overall economy, which came to a job growth of about 3 percent. Switzerland is experiencing a gastro-boom. This can absorb losses suffered by retailers. He has reduced in the same time about 1600 jobs. A turnaround does not appear, on the contrary. Online trading has only begun to change the industry.

Life happens more at the stations than ten years ago

Are fashion shops replaced by fast food suppliers? The best example of this can be found on Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse, near the main train station. "Ten years ago, there were even more clothes shops or other retailers," says Robert Weinert, expert at real estate consultant Wuest Partner. With the advent of online commerce have set a trend towards gastronomy. "Meanwhile, the share of take-away or fast food chains is significantly higher."

Zurich sets the example, others follow. "In Bern, Basel, Geneva or in Winterthur a similar trend can be observed," says Weinert. It is the result of a social change. It is now more in stations purchased and in their immediate vicinity. Where passers-by and commuters flock, companies are drawn to it. Rents are rising. Weinert: "In the vicinity of traffic junctions is often paid the most." That can not afford fashion shops, which are plagued by online trading. But it is highly efficient gastro chains or food shops.

The shoe store is followed by a thaifood chain. Such sequences are widespread. But are they also available in the shopping streets of smaller cities? And how long can such a gastroboom go well before it pops?

The gastronomy has long overshadowed in the larger cities. Nevertheless, there is no end to the boom. This is how the sentence handed down by Peter Herzog can be summarized. The expert says: "It has an abundance of offers. Too many businesses fuss over too few guests, and in many places, the utilization is too low. "Which in turn reflected in the finances. Herzog: "The bill has not worked for a long time."

And yet it could go on for a long time, even ten or fifteen years. Herzog: "The landlords decide: Find nothing better, lower the rent – the restaurateur survives." So may remain on the ground floor of a building, a coffee or a "zero-waste shop". The void remains filled. But other holes are opening up, in the balance sheets. "The landlords earn less money and have to write off."

Also in the train station in Berne more and more shops are bought. Picture: KEYSTONE

What is the size of this gastro-boom? According to Herzog, he plays in Zurich or Bern, maybe in Basel-Stadt. By contrast, there was no sign of a boom in Aarau, Solothurn or Schaffhausen. One reason: "They do not play a role in the planning of the big gastro chains." These are limited to big cities, even there to the best places. "Sales size is everything in your business."

In medium-sized or small cities play other mechanisms. Old money makes the course of things stronger. It is not only paid to profitability. Shops with books or clothes are more likely to stick. But change is usually only postponed. Fashion shops withdraw and are not replaced by standardized coffee, sandwiches & co. "It does not have to be a disaster. It creates space for original gastronomy perhaps in conjunction with coffees and readings. »

How much does a gastroboom help after the big shopping lingo? The answer is complicated by the fact that Switzerland knows very little about their empty shops. The emptiness of the apartments can be measured well (see right). On the other hand, this can not be said of the emptiness in the shopping scenes. Fredy Hasenmaile, real estate economist at the Credit Suisse bank, says there are only official figures for major centers. Already to the middle centers was nothing, to small towns anyway nothing. "And the few things there are about official numbers are dazzling."

The statistics signal the all-clear – but appearances are deceptive

Hasenmaile are a number of retail space known that no shop operator wanted to afford more. After that, the game was always the same. The empty space is somehow used differently. With that she disappears from the statistics. Measured by the total of all sales areas, less space is left empty in a city – and the so-called vacancy rate is falling. The statistic signals a reassuring all-clear. But the landlord earns less money. Hasenmaile: "One would think that everything is fine. This is unfortunately not the case."

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