The month-and-a-half-long summer sales period that ended on Monday was not enough to lift retailers.
About 81% of businesses responding to a survey by the Confederation of Commerce said sales were down compared to the same period last year.
Half of the respondents said turnover was at least 30% lower. Despite the debilitating experience of the pandemic in previous months, shop owners had been pinning their hopes on the sales period: 68% said they did worse than expected.
A majority (52%) said the mandatory use of masks inside shops hurt business. Only 4% said shoppers paid primarily with cash.