Recently, Børsen wrote that it was full cheer for Nordby shopping center, after lying on its knees through large parts of the pandemic.
Here in Norway, however, closed borders were good news for turnover in border areas.
Between week nine and 52 last year, when the borders were largely closed, turnover for selected daily goods and the wine monopoly increased by 8.6 billion kroner in Norwegian border areas, according to a report Menon Economics did for Virke.
– Notice the decline
Tista shopping center in Halden was among those who could see a solid increase in income when most of the «harry trade» took place within the borders.
In the pandemic year 2020, the center’s food and beverage turnover increased by as much as 63 percent.
Now the party is over.
– Now we notice the decline. It has slowed down in June, July and August. When it is now completely free border, we feel greater decline. We are probably back to the level before the pandemic, says head of Tista center, Britt Brattli, to Børsen.
Judging by the cash flow, more people are now trading across the border.
– I think it’s a bit like that now: Many people have withdrawal symptoms. That you go over just because you are allowed to.
The commitment around cross-border trade is great, and has therefore generated broad media coverage
– It is positive if it can help curb price differences. Negative in the sense that we are upset that everyone has to travel.
Fear of worse leakage
Virke points out that we are approaching normal, according to forecasts.
– We have estimated on the basis of traffic data that we trade in Sweden for 2 billion in the third quarter, and 4 billion in the fourth quarter, then we are approximately at the normal from 2018 and 2019, which was 3.96 billion kroner per. quarter, says Jarle Hammerstad in Virke, to Børsen.
But, and this is a big but for Virke, they fear the numbers for the trade leakage to Sweden are even worse.
Since 2009, the increase has increased quite sharply, from just over 10 billion to 15.6 billion in 2019. Virke look forward to next year, when they get better statistics, which will provide more information about cross-border trade.
– What we may think is that the growth we had in the years leading up to the corona has been greater than we have managed to capture. That we are actually higher than 16-17 billion, says Hammerstad.
– What do you justify that suspicion with?
– The reason for the suspicion is the pilot study for Statistics Norway from September 2019, which was estimated to be traded for 2 billion in one month, and September is not the peak month. This gives an indication that the total is higher, says Hammerstad.
– Flagged out too much
And already ten years ago, the Swedish Trade Institute estimated that cross-border trade amounted to over 20 billion.
– The two figures indicate that the total is probably higher than Statistics Norway has documented.
In 2020, the turnover of groceries increased by 21.5 per cent in areas below the hours running from the border trade points, by 14.3 per cent in cities further outside the Swedish border.
Virke has asked the government to look at the reasons for what drives cross – border trade, including experiences from the pandemic.
– Then it is especially Denmark that is relevant. They have a well-thought-out tax policy and how it affects Germany. Cross-border trade from Denmark to Germany is just under 5 billion. Denmark thinks this is too much, here we are much higher, says Hammerstad
Well, Virke has been used to how the cuts in chocolate and sugar taxes, and taxes on soft drinks, will turn out, but they want a continued reduction in the special Norwegian taxes.
Ultimately, it’s about jobs. The grocery trade has employed 4,200 more during the pandemic, many of them in border areas.
– We have flagged out a lot of turnover and a lot of workplaces to Sweden. It is turnover and jobs we need to have in Norway, says Hammerstad.
Virke has estimated that cross-border trade will cost Norway a total of 10,000 jobs.
In Vestfold and Telemark, sales at the wine monopolies have decreased by approximately 50,000 liters in total after the borders were opened. This equates to a decline of 7 percent, according to Sandefjords Blad.
Knut Peder Pettersen, head of Vinmonopolet in Torvbyen in Fredrikstad, also notices that the arrows are moving downwards.
– Our store has had an increase of 80-90 percent during the year. March 11 last year it said bang, says Pettersen to Børsen.
The corona pressure is marked in Vinmonopolet’s channels, starting to subside, he explains. Well, the reopening characterizes the turnover.
– But not everyone is traveling. No one has taken out yet: Our store is still over 50 percent over budget.
In connection with the increased pressure, they have manned. But these containers work within further, Pettersen explains.
– We have had several talented people attached to us who have worked here. They are on what we call a “corona contract”. It has been generous, and we will have it for the rest of the year. It will be re-evaluated on January 1 next year – then we will see what we need then.