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

According to preliminary forecasts from leading analytics company GlobalData, the UK’s clothing and footwear sector will bear the brunt of the impact the coronavirus outbreak has on retail with 2020 sales expected to be down by £11.1bn on 2019.

Bricks-and-mortar retailers are being advised to concentrate on exploiting their online channels and social media in preparation for when shoppers start spending on non-essential products again.

Kate Ormrod, Lead Retail Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “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.”

Ormrod adds: “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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