Patchy Demand at Stores Spells More Pain for Garment Suppliers

Fashion brands and retailers re-opening around the world to patchy demand, and carrying unsold stock from spring have cut fall orders by as much as two-thirds in moves spelling more pain for Asian suppliers, Reuters reported. With shoppers still wary of catching the coronavirus at stores, retailers are leaving buying decisions to the last minute and planning on selling all-season basics such as men’s chinos and t-shirts leftover from spring through into fall. “We don’t think orders for clothing will pick up anytime soon. Shipments could look up ahead of the Christmas but there is no guarantee,” said Siddiqur Rahman, a Bangladeshi garment supplier to H&M and GAP Inc. among others. The destructive weight of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to contract the $2.5 trillion global fashion industry by up to 30 percent in 2020, according to investment bank Bryan, Garnier & Co. Nike said that it has already cancelled around 30 percent of its pre-pandemic factory orders for the autumn and end-of-year holiday season, while Sweden’s H&M said that it would sell some “less seasonal” spring stock through into autumn. Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein owner PVH said last month that it was being very cautious on buying for fall as it reported a drop in same-store sales of around a quarter for re-opened stores in North America. Ralph Lauren said that it had cancelled around two-thirds of autumn season orders, while Levi Strauss & Co. has said that it would carry some unsold basic garments forward. Cancelled orders result in less work for factories across Asia where hundreds of thousands of garment workers have been laid off since the pandemic struck. New orders are down by as much as 45 percent on the year, said Rubana Huq, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, and factories in the world’s second-largest garment maker are operating at around half their capacity in the country. Read more.