Retail asks Congress for help in national TV campaign
Retail sales plunged another record amount in April, and even though some stores are beginning to reopen, retailers are worried. The pandemic has already pushed long-struggling retailers such as J. Crew, J.C. Penney and Neiman Marcus into bankruptcy—to avoid further carnage, one group is asking for help.
The International Council of Shopping Centers, which represents 70,000 members including mall operator Simon Property Group, is airing its first national broadcast campaign. Called “Your Business,” the 30-second spot highlights the plight of the restaurants, retailers, hair salons and fitness clubs that exist in malls in the U.S.
“These businesses in your shopping centers across America are the backbone of our communities and the soul of our cities,” a voiceover says, noting that such businesses are in need of assistance. “Ask congress to create a COVID-19 recovery fund,” the voiceover says.
ICSC worked with Makeable on the spot, which began airing on Monday across broadcast TV.
“The shopping center industry represents one in four jobs in the United States and has been devastated by the stay-at-home orders and social distancing required to fight COVID-19,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC, in a statement. “We’ve launched this ad campaign to illuminate a necessary next step: the establishment of a recovery fund which would provide the debt-free capital needed for revival.”
In April, retail sales fell 16.4 percent, worse than the record set in March. While many stores have begun to reopen with new safety measures in place, several areas across the country are still on lockdown and few consumers are comfortable enough to shop in brick-and-mortar centers. In addition, the economic crisis has depleted wallet share for discretionary spending.
In mid-March, malls were among the last retail locations to shutter, though many brands within shopping centers had already closed their doors. Simon began opening its properties again on May 1.
ICSC recently created the America’s Recovery Fund Coalition, which asks the federal government for a relief fund to those businesses impacted by the pandemic and economic downfall.