Coronavirus to wipe out one fifth of UK fashion spend in 2020, says GlobalData

The UK clothing and footwear sector will bear the brunt of the coronavirus’ (COVID-19) impact on retail, with 2020 sales down £11.1bn on 2019, according to preliminary forecasts by GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Kate Ormrod, lead retail analyst at GlobalData, said: “Amid a UK lockdown and self-isolation, buying new clothes and footwear is far from a top priority for consumers, making spring/summer a season to forget for fashion retailers – but one with long-lasting consequences.

“Though retailers are already striving to entice spending with discounting and promotions rife and loungewear at the forefront of marketing campaigns, we expect these to have little impact at present as consumers acclimatise to their new daily routines, while perceived supermarket shortages ensure food shopping remains top of mind. However, as we enter April – our expected peak of the pandemic – and approach Easter, it is likely some consumers will want to treat themselves, especially if a lockdown extension is mooted.”

She added: “Fashion specialists must exploit the online channel and social media to keep shoppers engaged while their bricks-and-mortar operations are out of action, with brands needing to foster support if they are to retain relevance when consumers begin spending on non-essential clothing & footwear again. However, any notion that online sales will fully counteract those lost instore is wishful thinking.

“With the likes of M&S, Moss Bros, N Brown and Superdry having already issued profit warnings, coronavirus’ impact has been swift. Significant fallout across the fashion sector is expected this year as fundamentally weaker players fail to recover once demand finally picks up in H2.”

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