Roger Fierens: ‘Covid-19 accelerated digitalisation’

Roger Fierens, managing director of Euroveiling, went through some strange times during the coronavirus pandemic. The auction clocks in Brussels initially came to a standstill for two months, and florists had to close their doors. Remarkably enough though, the auction seems to have recovered by now.

“We might even be able to end the year with the same turnover as in 2019. Things are going well. The auction is busy. Last Thursday, the busiest day of the week, there were 180 buyers on the premises, plus 70 web-shop and KOA buyers. That’s almost the same number as before the pandemic. We’ve set up a one-way system, installed sanitation equipment and buyers must wear a face mask and adhere to social distancing. Despite these measures, the atmosphere is positive. People really missed the auction”, says Euroveiling’s director Roger Fierens.

They had to stop the auction clocks for two months due to Covid-19. Fierens feared the worst but was surprised by how quickly the market recovered.

You sent an urgent letter to the Belgian government in March, didn’t you?

“Yes, at that time, the mood was completely different. Our customers – florists, market stalls and garden centres – had to close their doors and watch how 100 metres down the road, truckloads of import flowers were unloaded at the supermarket. Retailers saw their flower sales increase dramatically. It wasn’t fair. Why would florists be less capable of enforcing social distancing than supermarkets, where large crowds of people were flocking? That really didn’t make any sense to me.” (..)

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Here you will find an earlier interview with Roger Fierens.

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