While there are broader macroeconomic challenges presented by COVID-19, we recognize that you—as owners, CEOs and business leaders within the broader apparel market—are facing unique, industry-specific challenges. At Duff & Phelps, we will continue to address these challenges the only way we know how—through rigorous data analysis and market research. It is our desire to educate ourselves and others so that we may all come out of this stronger. To that end, we will endeavor to keep you informed of how COVID-19 is impacting various facets of the apparel industry and how certain apparel brands and retailers are navigating through this tumultuous period. This situation is extremely dynamic and we have included our latest observations of recurring themes that are materializing within the apparel sector.
As social distancing becomes a pivotal strategy to stem the spread of the virus, a majority of retail stores have announced temporary closures. Digital sales have become increasingly important to offset the inevitable decline brands will experience on the retail front. Consumer engagement remains a priority, with digital and telephonic now crucial mediums for brands to continue to connect with its customers. Moreover, despite various companies providing incentives such as free shipping, discounts and promotions, consumer purchasing behavior has changed dramatically as the gravity of economic uncertainty continues to percolate worldwide. Despite the challenging macroeconomic backdrop and numerous headwinds directly affecting apparel companies, leading brands across the globe have unified through the understanding that the only way out of this uncertainty is to place the utmost priority on employees, families and customers.