A slow reopening of stores and companies has just started like, for instance, in Austria and Germany. In Italy manufacturing companies will reopen on May 4 and stores on May 18. Despite this, most of the multibrand stores are not sure they will be able to register a rapid turnover.
Many of them keep untouched boxes of s/s 2020 products in their stores since March and don’t know if they will be able to sell them.
So who needs new product for s/s 2021 anyway?
We asked market insiders how they will face the upcoming weeks’ and months’ challenge, how they will handle consumers’ generally lowered interest for fashion (and their smaller budgets) while dealing with stocks of unsold products and the postponing of trade shows.
The result: while some of them definitely see a demand for new products and collections for the s/s '21 season, others want to keep things at a low profile. Because as a consequence of the lockdown many stores are still keeping huge quantities of s/s products and along with it some companies have started considering postponing the presentation of most of their s/s 2021 products.
Among them is La Sportiva, an Italian outdoor, activewear and sportswear brand: “Our new spring/summer 2021 collection will consist largely of the current 2020 collection, supplemented by a few capsule products,” explained CEO and president Lorenzo Delladio. “There are a lot of stocks due to the current situation. We do not want the distribution network to suffer as a result.”
“As the majority of Italian and European retailers had to close their stores at the beginning of the s/s season 2020, high stock levels can be expected everywhere. These are products that have not yet been placed on the market, only because of the store closures, and which therefore cannot be considered ‘obsolete’ in a few months. For this reason we have decided to postpone the launch of about 90% of our 2021 clothing collection and most of our new shoe collection.”
Edoardo Giaroli, founder, Letasca
Of a similar opinion is Edoardo Giaroli, the founder of Letasca, a newborn sportswear brand: “Full stocks are an obvious problem now, but they are part of a bigger process which has affected the industry in the last years–too much offering and too short selling time. This system was no longer sustainable; the current situation has accelerated a transition that was going to happen anyway. I think s/s ’21 is a chance to show a first output of a new method–slower and more sustainable. We, as a brand, are preparing a small offering rather than a collection, pushing on the long-lasting value of our products,” he said.
Also Nobis thinks its spring/summer collections can be easily sold as seasonless pieces. “At Nobis, we have always considered our ‘spring/summer’ collection to be a ‘transitional’ collection. Not only do our products have sophisticated seasonless styling but we are fortunate that their technical capabilities allow them to easily transition into multiple seasons,” they commented.
Other brands and players have different visions of the matter.
"Fashion moves on despite Corona. You should be able to show your customers the latest trends, colors and shapes next year too,” commented Superga.
Very down-to-earth is Matteo Tugliani, CEO and founder, Moaconcept on this topic. “We all have already lost much revenue for 2020 and we are going to face the highest amount the next months because of unpaid invoices, non-retrieved orders, long-term payments and similar problems. The luckiest companies will face a 50% loss in revenues,” he said.
Enzo Fusco, founder/owner, FGF Industries
Also Enzo Fusco, president and founder FGF Industries, believes that new products are indispensable for summer 2021: “We expect some suffering for the next sales campaign, though, apart from basics and never-out-of-stock products which could be kept, the offer for the new season needs to be updated. For this, when stores will reopen they will sell what they have and will do sales selling stocks.”
Graziano Mazza, owner, Premiata
“I don’t think stocks will be full,” commented Graziano Mazza, the owner of Premiata: “By the end of the season there will surely be important remains from the old season, but stores cannot face the new season without showing new products as they will have already put old products on sale. So how could they offer them as new ones?”
Photo: Fritzi aus Preußen
Björn Nadler, head of sales, Fritzi aus Preußen
Similarly, Björn Nadler, head of sales, Fritzi aus Preußen, believes it is dangerous presenting the same fashion collection for two years in a row: “Unfortunately, fashion is a perishable product. The end consumer also knows this. Even though the stores were now closed and are now slowly opening again, the end consumer always had a good overview of the current spring/summer fashion through online media. I consider it very dangerous to present the same fashion to them again in the new year. You have to find ways to clean up the current stock situation in a sensible and clean way and make room for fresh styles in spring/summer 2021.”
Enrico Pasi, director general EMEA, Suicoke
Enrico Pasi, Suicoke’s director general EMEA, thinks that it is important keeping a balance between old and new products: “What moves clients to buy new clothes each season is the desire of possessing something new and fresh. So for sure buyers will have to be wise when planning their mix by balancing seasonal offering and core products they can keep from s/s ’20 stock.”
Lorenzo Osti, president, C.P. Company
For Lorenzo Osti, president of C.P. Company, sell-out data, while strongly influenced by the worldwide lockdown period, are positive: “Some of our clients have already gone beyond 50% of sell-out for spring/summer 2020 and by end of the season will have finished their stocks,” he explained. “We have considered keeping some products of the current season for next summer as we have some ‘carryover’ products though we are asking to not offer them as sales because being ‘classic’ pieces they can be sold as full price items also for next season.”
Tommaso Andorlini, founder/CEO, FFW, Playground and SOTF
Retailers think refreshing their offer for s/s 2021 is a must. Tommaso M. Andorlini, founder and CEO of the FFW, Playground and SOTF stores from Florence and Prato, explained: “We have to go forward. People have already seen s/s 2020 collections if not inside the brick-and-mortar stores, of course online and often at discounted prices in season. The idea of offering s/s 2020 goods again is not applicable at all. We’ll deal with an audience that needs to be teased more than ever. We need new stuff, new brands and a new approach to propose to them.”
David Pujolar Segura, general manager, AW Lab
David Pujolar Segura, general manager of the footwear and sportswear store chain AW Lab, also thinks that it is important to keep the customer engaged. “Basics will be basics, but drivers are missing today and for sure next year. How to excite the consumer will be key,” he said.
Agostino Poletto, general manager, Pitti Uomo
Trade shows’ vision is clear about this matter. Agostino Poletto, general manager of Pitti Uomo, believes that offering new products is key: “Fashion logic is not tied to long-lasting and no-season goods. Producing and selling fashion has to do with style, creativity and evolution. Collections may be reduced, therefore more sustainable and more long-lasting, but companies will never stop producing new items. Though there is also a very concrete aspect as some worldwide markets, such as China, have already opened for the post-crisis and others are getting ready to do that. Next seasons’ new collections have to be ready and presented to the market.”
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