The apparel retailers will have to adjust to the time post-COVID

Les détaillants de vêtements devront s'ajuster à l'époque post-COVID

Les détaillants de vêtements devront s'ajuster à l'époque post-COVID

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July 3, 2020 17: 25

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The apparel retailers will have to adjust to the time post-COVID

Ross Marowits

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — The pandemic of COVID-19 has swept over the canadian sector of the mode, such as a hurricane, causing severe damage and some casualties in its wake. The closure widespread shopping centres and offices and the cancellation of holidays and major events have been devastating, claimed the boss of Harry Rosen, one of the main retailers of clothing for men in the country.

“We survive,” said president and chief executive officer of the company, Larry Rosen, adding that online orders had jumped almost 500 %.

“(E-commerce) has been very, very strong, but this does not compensate still not our national footprint of retail.”

Mr. Rosen emphasized that the coronavirus had accelerated the trends which the industry faces, including the growing sales of casual wear for the office and e-commerce.

“I mean, people don’t wear a suit when they work at home”, he illustrated.

Even if some sales of office clothes could well never come back, even after the reopening of the offices, Mr. Rosen think most people will, because there will always be opportunities to dress more chic at the office, or special occasions.

“If people can sit at home and wear fleece, they are going to wear fleece, but this will change. It will all come back. How fast, nobody is really sure, but it will all come back.”

Les détaillants de vêtements devront s'ajuster à l'époque post-COVID

Larry Rosen, boss from Harry Rosen

PC, provided by Harry Rosen

The company has juggled with several difficulties, by taking advantage of support programs and federal, in decreasing its costs, increasing its liquidity and reducing the price of some products earlier. The summer sale has begun before the feast of the Fathers.

Mr. Rosen has ensured that his company’s 66-year-old would survive, but that some of its competitors, who have started the crisis with a lot of debt, will be in danger.

“I think a number of companies will ask for a legal protection. I don’t think this is finished. I think that there are still other.”

Already victims

Reitmans (Canada) announced last month the closure of two of its chains of stores and the layoff of 1,400 workers, while the company continues to restructure in the midst of the pandemic.

The retailer montreal plans to close its 77 stores Addition Elle August 15, and its 54 stores Thyme Maternity on 18 July.

United state of america, which operates the brand Frank and Oak, has recently filed a notice of intention to make a proposal under the bankruptcy and insolvency act.

The total retail sales of clothing will decrease from 28% to 32 % in 2020, while sales of luxury clothing are expected to fall by 16.8 %, according to Trendex, a company of information marketing specializing in the markets of canada and the mexican clothing.

The firm predicts that 10 to 15 large apparel chains will close or substantially reduce their commercial footprint, and that the sales will not come back to their level of 2019 before 2023.

Luxury brands such as Harry Rosen should not suffer as much as the retailers of clothing and footwear of low or mid-range, said Bruce Winder, senior analyst of retail and author of a book on retail trade in the context of the COVID-19.

“[The electronic commerce] has been very, very strong, but this does not compensate still not our national footprint of retail


Larry Rosen, boss from Harry Rosen

“Some of the losers will be in some way those who live at the margin”, he explained in an interview.

“These are not the best brands, they have a value proposition a little weak and their balance sheet was a bit fragile before the crisis hit. All that this does is push them to the edge of the abyss.”

The Hudson Bay is one of the channels most affected, said Mr Winder, who believes she may be forced to reduce its national footprint of 30 % to 40 %.

“They suffer a lot. The Bay literally sinking, quickly, and we can’t see the carnage because they are no longer listed on the Exchange.”

The Company of Hudson Bay, which has recently re-opened its canadian stores and its branches, Saks, has not responded to requests for comment.

Telework, an advantage for some

Retailers of fashion solids, such as Aritzia, H&M and Zara have been affected, but will survive, said Mr. Winder.

Telework has also been positive for the manufacturer of yoga pants Lululemon Athletica, which has recorded one of the most important gains in quarterly market share in recent years, said its chief executive officer, Calvin McDonald.

“A new normal has emerged and we were encouraged to see the speed at which our customers adopt both work and exercise at home,” he said during a call on the quarterly results.

Les détaillants de vêtements devront s'ajuster à l'époque post-COVID

Of apparel retailers have noticed a change in individual habits, when companies have turned to telework.

Library The Sun

Unlike some retailers of fashion, Lululemon has a high percentage of basic products with a long shelf-life than a single season, and the risk of markdowns is limited.

Roots showed a similar benefit with the change in individual habits, when companies have turned to telework.

“We took advantage of the increased demand for our wide range of fleece on our online activities. To take advantage of this demand, we have created a new section devoted to “clothing sweatshirts” on our web site”, stressed the chief executive officer, Meghan Roach.

She said that there was a little extra boost in the sales of clothing sweatshirts for men, because they were looking for more comfort “below the screen”.

One of the tools that retailers have used to confront the challenges is to renegotiate the monthly rent.

Ms. Roach pointed out that Roots had not paid his rent for April and would assess the profitability of each store to determine the “footprint that we should be in Canada, and how we balance this (…) with our e-commerce activities”.

Mr. Rosen also expects to see its commercial footprint to decrease over time after the closure of a store to the expiration of the lease.

“Over time, I think this is going to be reduced, especially as the web becomes a much larger share of our business.”

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