The Impact of COVID-19 On the Fashion Design Industry
The Coronavirus pandemic has had sweeping repercussions on all sectors of the economy worldwide. However, the sectors that will be extremely hard hit are the ones that come in the category of non-essential spending. Design apparel and footwear definitely come in this category. At the Milan Fashion Week this February, Giorgio Armani chose to live-stream his new collection rather than invite visitors—a direct offshoot of the rampant spread of positively tested cases in Italy. Let us look closely at the UK retail sector, since the UK is a country that attracts billions of tourists from across the globe every year; London is known to be the hub of cultural and commercial activity with maximum retail sales in the European region. It is now estimated that the apparel sector in the UK will be the worst hit with a decline in spending by a fifth or 20.6 per cent less than the usual spending. Sales of clothing and footwear in the UK alone are expected to decline by £11.1 billion, which is the equivalent of $13.06 billion.
In other words, it is the equivalent of the combined clothing sales of the three market leaders—Primark, Marks & Spenser and Next. All 376 Primark stores spread out in 12 countries have been closed until further notice. Primark owner, ABF (Associated British Foods), stated that this would account for a loss of some $751.5 million of net sales per month. Nike, Gap and H&M are temporarily suspending online operations and have closed down their retail outlets in an attempt to curb the spread of the lethal coronavirus.