MANILA - Popular book store chain Fully Booked said Monday it is ramping up its digital channels following "catastrophic" months of sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns.
Prior to COVID-19, 98 percent of sales were generated from physical stores, which, considered as a non-essential, were hardest hit by the lockdowns in March to May, managing director Jaime Daez told ANC.
"It was really quite catastrophic, what happened during those 2 months from March 15 to May 15," Daez said.
"It’s been an uphill battle but obviously what we are transitioning to is really to move our retail operations more online, because obviously less people are going to the malls. Rather than wait for consumers to go to us, we’d rather go to them," he added.
Sales improved after May but it "is still affected" since there are less people going to malls, he said.
Experts have said the consumer behavior has shifted to online for daily essentials due to the fear of contracting COVID-19. There were less trips to stores, while spending became "prudent" as the pandemic hit incomes.
Today, their online sales from its website and e-commerce sites "have gone up by multiples," he said.
Despite the drop in sales, Daez said he was optimistic that books remain an irreplaceable experience compared to digital versions.
"It’s still not a replaceable experience. There’s something about reading a book, something about that tactile experience that makes it very different," Daez said.
"In general, the pleasure of reading a book far outweighs the pleasure of reading a digital one," he added.