Comment on: The man with the plan for Debenhams
Debenhams lacks a USP and aspiration. Its failure to see it divert from its own obsolesce into calmer waters has past and it is very hard to see any future despite its best intentions.
Limited Companies have been left hung out to dry. Many small Indies and Limited - they take a small salary and the rest in dividends, but unlike Employed and the Self-Employed, the Government view us as surplus to requirements.
I think retailers and suppliers need to find a happy medium where possible, but the key will be how long the shops are shut. If the shops are closed until August - which is our educated guess if the predicted peak for the virus is June - the AW20 season would normally be in full swing and it will be difficult for shops to accept existing orders - and that assuming they make it that far.
Brands will have to make much smaller collections for the next few seasons, because the new 'normal' will be much smaller buys because money will be in short supply from the retailer and the consumer.
The crashing of the economy will have ramifications for years to come, so everyone involved in what will be left of the industry must have modest expectations. The only upside from this crisis is that retail and suppliers will have to be better managed with less and that has been a long time coming.
One important point to make here is that the Government's position post virus seems to be that everything will go back to normal. It won't.
Money and Confidence will be in short supply and that is always a bad combination for retail.
Plus you have to factor in that the consumer will get used to having less and get used to shopping online, which some may not have done before.
Don't be fooled - things will never quite be the same again.
Comment on: Suppliers squeezed by coronavirus
It's been very interesting how brands are dealing with this crisis and their communication with their retail partners. We set our position out early on, which was fair and reasonable.
With two or notable exceptions, there has been a deafening silence as I think the scale of the impact of the virus has caught many out. One plan one day can be completely different the next. As AW20 starts so early, who will want stock then?
Our hunch on evidence so far is that the brands that offer more core basics and everyday items will suffer a lot less than brands that are more seasonly based. People are not going to dress up if they are not going anywhere or to walk the dog.
If SS20 is a damp squib, then SS21 will be a no-no for many unless an innovative approach can be reached between supplier and brand partner.
We are in very uncertain times, but one thing nobody should be doing is burying their head in the sand. There has to be a way out of this and for that, there must be communication.