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Turkish shop owners association calls on gov’t to tap unemployment fund amid decreasing sales

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Turkey’s United Brands Association (BMD), which represents 384 brands and some 70,000 stores across the country, has urged the government to activate the Unemployment Fund (İşsizlik Fonu), signaling a 70 percent drop in sales caused by coronavirus worries among the public, the Diken news website reported on Thursday.

BMD Chairman Sinan Öncel said online sales have been unable to compensate for the loss in sales generated by stores. He also said the priority now is the payment of employee wages.

“We will request the payment of wages using the Unemployment Fund. We are not certain, however, if the fund’s size and structure will allow for covering this,” Öncel said.

Another problematic issue is the leasing expenses of the stores, according to the BMD chairman.

On Thursday clothing brands including retail giants such as Mavi Giyim and Vakko Tekstil announced the closing of stores and shopping malls, Reuters reported.

Turkey has confirmed three deaths due to COVID-19 as well as 191 cases.

First seen in the Chinese city of Wuhan, COVID-19 has spread rapidly around the world, infecting more than 225,000 people worldwide and killing nearly 9,500.

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