Covid-19 Impact: Fashion brands push spring-summer clothing till October to clear inventory

BENGALURU: Fashion retailers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Ritu Kumar, Arrow, and Jack and Jones, are planning to push their spring-summer collection till October or pre-Diwali to clear up inventory that piled-up during lockdown.

In a webinar, organised by Retailers Association of India (RAI) that represents fashion companies including Future Group, Aditya Birla Fashion and Lifestyle, Landmark Group and Reliance Fashion, retailers said that they will skip pre-fall clothing completely and will instead plan production of autumn-winter collections.

“Fortunately, this time Diwali comes later 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,” said Shailesh Chaturvedi, CEO of Tommy Hilfiger Apparels, adding that production could stabilize only by February-March next year.

Seasonal collections based on fabric, colours and styling is critical for fast fashion industry and Diwali will be a litmus test for them.

“Being nimble on the supply front is a good idea in such uncertain times,” Ritu Kumar’s managing director Amrish Kumar said.

“Fortunately in India, season in terms of fabric changes only in October. So, we have a buffer time till October to push our spring summer collection across bridal, high fashion and western wear. We will also not be finalising any orders till October.”

Sales of fashion brands fell by nearly 70% since fears over the virus intensified in March. With uncertainty still looming large on non-essential retail, most brands are preparing to open physical stores in a structured manner with reduced staff hours, shifts and restricted customer entry.

“It will be a structured opening like China where 7000 of our stores opened over three weeks. We may open stores on high-street faster than in malls. We may also start with one shift as reality is that business will not operate at the same scale as pre-Covid times,” said Vineet Gautam, country head of Bestseller India that sells fast fashion brands Jack and Jones, Vero Moda and Only.

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