Analysis: Coronavirus – the devastating impact on fashion’s supply chain

Bangladesh factory workers

As shuttered fashion retailers cancel orders, suppliers around the world face a bleak future. Grace Bowden looks at the impact of the coronavirus crisis on retail’s supply chain.

Fashion retailers have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic, faced with the double whammy of mandated store closures and a plummet in demand as shoppers working from home cut back on buying clothes.

Fashion sales plummeted 28.4% year on year in March, according to the Office for National Statistics.

As former LK Bennett chief executive Erica Vilkauls explains: “Sales of fashion and home goods have crashed as consumers spend on essential items.

“Retailers and their logistics systems, distribution facilities and supplier networks weren’t engineered for the rapid shifts in demand patterns that have occurred in the last couple of months.”

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