Shops have not been able to sell their clothing stock following the summer sales – brought forward to August this year due to corona-virus measures impacting the sector.
Despite discounts of around 50 to 70%, the sector reports that about 40% of the stock still remain unsold. “People do not dare to consume,” says Christine Mattheeuws from the Belgian Union of Freelancers SNI.
“The losses were reduced a bit with the easing of the 1-person limit in stores to allow for two people to go shopping together stores. However, this measure came far too late and was too limited. It only had a slight impact on the negative figures,” Mattheeuws adds.
With the sales ending, the new autumn and winter collection is coming. “75% of shop-keepers want to keep the unsold for another occasion. No less than two-thirds of them will use the inventory for new discount days in the first half or even all of September.
Other will donate their unsold clothes to a charity or resell them to a second-hand or wholesaler, according to a survey carried out among 882 shop-keepers in the fashion sector.
73% also report that they have bought in less items for their new collections. “There are several reasons for this. Entrepreneurs have not been able to make enough money yet and have become more cautious for fear of a second lockdown,” SNI says.
“Six in 10 shops cannot pay for the entire new collection.”
“One in 5 businesses already fear they will go out of business before the end of the year. This shows that the easing of shopping measures, with the possibility to go in pairs and without a time-limit arrived too late. Additional measures, such as a reduction in VAT to 6%, are necessary,” the Belgian union emphasizes.