July is normally the dedicated sales period in Belgium, but 78 major players in fashion ask the government to intervene and enforce full prices in July. A sales period in August is necessary to save the sector from a flood of bankruptcies, they say.
Save our sector
If the sales period is held in August, and a strict ban on all kinds of sales is enforced from the day the physical stores are allowed to reopen until 31 July, hundreds of companies can be saved from bankruptcy and thousands of jobs can be saved, a plea to Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès reads. A key condition - which is not included in current legislation - is however that international and digital players should obey the rules as well.
"We know that when we open our stores again, some major retailers and online players will be eager to sell as many clothes as possible with large discounts, in order to get rid of overstocks as much as possible and in order to generate cashflow fast", Peter Perquy says. Perquy, CEO of chains like Gigue, Terre Bleue and Zilton, has become somewhat of a spokesperson for the sector - together with Mayerline CEO Mimi Lamote. They fear that many Belgian brands and stores will not survive such a move.
"If nothing changes in the current sales legislation, the Belgian fashion sector will collapse: hundreds of companies and thousands of jobs are at stake", Lamote says. She points to the fact that while turnover has almost disappeared, costs continue to accumulate: stock has already been paid but can not be sold, the autumn and winter collections need to be produced (and paid) now, while next summer's collections are in full preparation. "Many companies will not make it", Lamote fears.