According to Vineet Gautam, country head of Bestseller India, apparel makers will look at store rationalization once they resume business post lockdown. He stated during a webinar organised by the Retailers Association of India (RAI) that there is a lot of uncertainty on how and when all stores will open, as it depends on the zones of a city.
“In this situation, retailers need to conserve cash. We need to relook at how many stores we actually need,” he added. Several other industry executives said that retailers need to evaluate whether they need to operate with 100 per cent manpower and may have to start with one shift as demand is unlikely to be like pre-COVID-19 times. Store may also have to limit the number of customers inside to ensure social distancing.
According to Shailesh Chaturvedi, CEO, Tommy Hilfiger Apparels, unsold inventory may be manageable this year because Diwali comes late in November, giving us an extended summer. “We will cut production of fall and holiday goods. We are avoiding deep discounting as it spoils the brand,” he added.
Meanwhile, Amrisk Kumar, Managing Director, Ritu Kumar said, “The company will not be finalising any orders till October as it will use the time to sell its summer collections of bridal, high fashion and western wear.
COVID-19 lockdown has hit apparel makers quite hard as even online sales were not allowed. “Cash flows are really challenged, there is no revenue. Unlike Europe and other parts of the world where online was allowed and some operational revenue was coming in, we are not seeing any revenue at II,” said Gautam.