As per the updates from the recent webinar conducted by the Retailers Association of India, initially, 25% of the fashion retail stores might get back into action after the upliftment of the nation-wide lockdown.
The Indian apparel market which is the sixth-largest in the world stands at stake today as no customer is thinking about buying fashion during these unpredicted times of the novel coronavirus. The industry which is valued at $59.3 billion is slowly moving towards a liquidity crunch, finding it difficult to support its laborers and retain the customer base.
Realizing the need of the hour, The Retailers Association of India conducted a webinar including the major stakeholders from the field to find some way out and according to the report, 25% of the total retail outlets will resume their operations once the lockdown is lifted. However, the re-opening should be done in a strategic manner considering the fear and anxiety in customers and complying with government guidelines.
This move comes as a great responsibility for the retailers as they will have to be more careful regarding the hygiene and sanitization in their stores and surroundings because of which many retailers might prefer to initially open the stores that are situated in the high-streets rather than shopping malls.
“A majority of the fashion retail stores, whether in malls or otherwise, are concentrated in tier-1 cities that are flagged as red zones. Hence, their reopening will have to be done strategically, in a phased manner. In China, where we have nearly 3,000 stores, we saw that the stores reopened for three weeks, after lifting the restrictions,” said Vineet Gautam, CEO, BestSeller India.
As the analysts estimated that the effects of the deadly coronavirus will be long felt by the fashion industry because people will become more conscious about their outings and might want to restrict them for special and important occasions initially. As the lockdown impacted other businesses as well, people are in the phase of saving their money for momentous happenings and the impact of this will be profoundly felt by the luxury fashion companies, which might lead reduction in prices making it more affordable to the customers.
“There are going to be problems related to employees not being able to report to work, pushing the sales of our summer collection inventory and cutting down the production of Autumn wear. Due to such high unpredictability in the markets, the revival will only happen next year,” said Tommy Hilfiger India CEO Shailesh Chaturvedi.
The arrival of the festive season is likely to bring some relief to fashion retailers who are longing to see some customers in their store as the customers might start indulging in the festivities, gradually forgetting the destructions caused by the novel virus. However, the industry is predicted to gain momentum only after 8-12 months.