Belgian fashion group FNG (Brantano, CKS, Miss Etam, Steps, ...) fears the coronavirus and its consequences will have a lasting impact on its activities. Not only have its stores closed completely, but now its online turnover is also decreasing.
“Consumers delay non-essential purchases”
The group had to close its Belgian stores on 17 March, and decided to voluntarily close its Dutch stores on 19 March in order to secure its customers' and employees' safety and health. Its webshops have remained open, but their turnover is decreasing as well: "Due to a drop in consumer confidence in every one of our geographic markets, we expect customers will delay their non-essential purchases", the retailer says in a press release.
To make matters worse, wholesalers are also decreasing their orders, while FNG is confronted with delays and cancellations in production and transport as some of its factories have had to close as well. The long-term consequences for the supply chain are not yet fully clear, but they will be substantial and need a long time to normalise.
FNG has started negotiating about a delay in paying rents and other costs to suppliers, and hopes the government will take extra steps to support retailers. Its outlook is not positive: "FNG expects the impact of this crisis to last at least to the end of this year", the retailer says. The company makes a point of thanking all of its employees in these difficult times: "We are ever so grateful for your efforts and solidarity towards each other and the company."