‘Our Industry Will Fail’: Retail Leaders Ask for Emergency Aid
Predicting millions of job losses in retail,
an industry presses for federal money to
save the retail clothing industries.
Over the past five days, executives from the
largest American clothing brands and department stores have been engaged in
urgent late-night phone calls and marathon video conferences in which they game
out scenarios for their future in a world with
a coronavirus pandemic.
In the end, they have decided to request a stimulus package from the United
States government that would defray the worst of the effects for both big and
small businesses alike, framing it as a “bridge,” not a “bailout.”
“There will be tens of millions of job losses in the industry,”
said Sonia Syngal, the chief executive of Gap Inc.,
immediate relief, Our industry will fail.” says Tory Burch, the founder
and co-chief executive of an eponymous brand that employs 4,000 people in the
“I don’t understand why no one is talking about this,” said
Stephen Smith, the chief executive of L.L. Bean.
“North of 10 million people who will be unemployed.” said John
Idol, chief executive of Capri Holdings.
“Taking China as a model, it’s likely nothing will reopen until between 30 to 60
days from now,” Mr. Idol said. “It will be approximately a year before
business gets somewhat back to normal — and it won’t be the normal we are used
to; it will be a new normal. Many companies won’t make it through.”
The result will be a domino effect. It begins with just the stores that
are closed and their employees, which then hurts the brands whose clothes they
sell — in fact, many are already hurting from canceled wholesale orders. Then
come the factories that produce the clothes for those brands, and the mills that
spin the fabric, and even the farmers that produce the raw materials. Spillover
includes the ads that will be pulled from glossy magazines, the landlords
without tenants, logistics companies and transporters who will lose their
Last week over 20 executives along with the NRF all got together, for the
first time ever, and all agreed on three targets:
First, they would ask for financing loans for real estate companies, so brands
and department stores could have their rent forgiven until they could reopen.
Second, they would ask for grants that cover at least 80 percent of employee
salaries if they were kept on payroll. And finally, they would request tariff
and duty relief for the next 12 months.
In a letter sent to President Trump over the weekend, 90 different trade and
retail organizations laid out the potential immediate losses and their belief
that “the biggest single issue facing the industry right now is liquidity.” It
also underscored their concern about being overlooked.
“While some retail businesses may be considered ‘essential’ and may be able to
remain open, many will not.”
Full article published on