Apple and Lego open stores at height of pandemic

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Sat 4th Dec, 2021

Open Sundays in Berlin and a few shopping centers in Brandenburg could turn into a business flop, especially for smaller retailers. The reason is the stricter measures for infection protection. It is known that customers must show proof that they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 or have recovered from it when entering the store.

"Some retailers are requiring twice the usual staff to implement this rule. That's a huge burden," said Phillip Haverkamp of the Berlin-Brandenburg trade association. He is thinking especially of owner-operated stores, where often only one person sells. This person now often has to employ a second person to regulate access at the entrance. Haverkamp recalled that many retailers generate around 30 percent of their annual sales in the run-up to Christmas.

In Berlin, the open Sundays scheduled for December 5 and 19 are linked to the opening of Christmas markets in the city. In Brandenburg, no Christmas markets are allowed to operate this year. Nevertheless, a few shopping centers have announced openings for this Sunday, including HavelPark Dallgow and Oder Center in Schwedt.

The computer company Apple and the toy manufacturer Lego are apparently not impressed by the situation: Both companies opened their second store in Berlin on Thursday.

Apple had hired 130 employees for its new store on Rosenthaler Strasse in Mitte, and they served customers in 35 languages - including sign language, as the store manager proudly explained. Because of the pandemic, "the highest security standards" also apply. At Apple, you have to book an appointment online in advance. For the first time in a European Apple store, there is an area where you can directly pick up the goods ordered online.

The Danish Lego company opened its second Berlin store with more than 250 square meters of space in the Mall of Berlin at Leipziger Platz - but without a celebration, as originally planned.

Lego Germany boss Karen Pascha-Gladyshev sidestepped the question submitted in writing about the extent to which a store opening would fit in with the times, given the location. "Although online retail plays an important role for us, we will continue to invest in opening new Lego stores," she informed. Stationary retail is very important for the experience of our brand and products, she said, and direct interaction in the stores, in specialized stores or in department stores and department stores are highly appreciated by fans young and old.

"The brick-and-mortar store offers our fans the opportunity to physically experience our product portfolio and brand and to receive qualified personal advice," the Lego manager went on to explain.

As special features in the new store, she pointed to the Lego set "Kevin - Alone at Home" (read here how this movie changed the author's life) "in keeping with family Christmas movie watching." In addition, they have a "Pick a Brick" wall in the store, where individual Lego bricks and elements in all available colors would be available for selection, allowing the implementation of any creative idea.

Creative, but not very squeamish, a few criminal Lego fans had also shown themselves over the weekend. In Lippstadt in North Rhine-Westphalia, they broke through a wall into a branch of the Toys World chain last weekend and stole the contents of about 100 Lego packs, but left the boxes behind. The store manager spoke of a "picture of devastation".

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