How the Coronavirus Is Impacting the Fashion and Beauty Industries

From store closures to event cancellations, a rundown of how the industry is coping with COVID-19.

The impact of the coronavirus is being felt by virtually every industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which amassed 182,100 cases and caused 7,305 deaths globally as of March 17, has led to the disruption of everyday life, with local governments enacting strict measures to contain the virus’ spread.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have made such orders to prohibit large gatherings, including closures of restaurants, bars, gyms, nightclubs and other businesses. These measures have affected myriad fashion and beauty businesses, many of which are now closing their doors for an indefinite period of time.

From major event cancellations and fashion week disruptions to the lengthy list of store closures, here are seven ways COVID-19 is impacting fashion, beauty and retail.

1. Fashion Stocks Plummet:

The stock market has experienced significant declines for the last few weeks as COVID-19 has rapidly spread across the globe.

On March 16, trading was halted shortly after markets opened and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1,820.41 points (or 7.9 percent) to 21,365.21, further pushing the market into bear territory.

Among those hit hardest by the decline are G-III Apparel Group (down 27.1 percent to $11.07), Capri Holdings (down 26.2 percent to $10.29), RealReal Inc. (down 19.3 percent to $7.02), Tapestry Inc. (down 19.3 percent to $13.10) and Nordstrom Inc. (down 17 percent to $17.93).

2. Fashion Industry Rallies:

Many influential figures and fashion designers are coming together to raise funds to combat COVID-19’s global spread, many of whom are donating money or resources to Italian hospitals and institutions. The country is experiencing the second largest outbreak of COVID-19 globally, with cases reaching more than 27,000.

The growing list of benefactors include luxury groups Kering, which donated 2 million euros to Italian health-care organizations, and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which is manufacturing hand sanitizer at all its perfume and cosmetics facilities to donate to French health authorities.

Powerhouse influencer Chiara Ferragni and her husband, Fedez, launched a GoFundMe fund-raiser on March 9 — making a personal donation of 100,000 euros — to raise money to create new hospital beds in intensive care areas of Milan’s San Raffaele hospital. The fund-raiser has amassed more than 4.2 million euros.

Others donating for the cause include Giorgio Armani, Donatella Versace, Marco Bizzarri of Gucci and Remo Ruffini of Moncler.

3. Fashion Week Disruptions:

COVID-19 hit Italy in the midst of Milan Fashion Week in late February, causing a number of designs — including Giorgio Armani, who barred a public audience to view his fall 2020 runway show — to rethink their show formats.

The virus has now caused many design houses to cancel or postpone their international resort 2021 shows, including Armani, Dior, Gucci, Hermès, Max Mara, Prada, Chanel and Versace.

The restaging of Chanel’s Métiers d’Art show, Ralph Lauren’s fall 2020 show and Burberry’s fall 2020 show are also being postponed due to the virus.

4. Major Events Canceled:

A number of high-profile events have been canceled over the last few weeks as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention enacted more stringent guidelines on large group gatherings.

These canceled events span virtually every industry, including fashion, film, technology and sports, among others. Among those canceled are the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, SXSW, the Tribeca Film Festival, Beautycon, the Boston Marathon and the NBA season, among others.

A recent cancellation is the Met Gala, which Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour announced on March 16 will be postponed indefinitely.

5. Other Events Go Virtual:

As several major events are being canceled due to COVID-19, others are going virtual to go forward with their pre-planned summits and trade shows.

The Girlboss Rally in Los Angeles is just one event to go digital, now offering free online streaming to a global audience. Attendees who already purchased a ticket — which ranged from $375 to $725 — for the initial event on April 25 will be receiving refunds. A date for the live-stream has not yet been revealed.

Other events going digital in light of COVID-19 are Zero Waste Summit, a two-day event on sustainability, the Fair Trade Campaigns National Conference and the Google Cloud Next: Digital Connect conference.

6. Retail Stores Shutter:

Retailers have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by shuttering their doors. In the last few days, a number of major retailers and brands announced their temporary closures in the U.S., including Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, H&M, Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Sephora, Nike, Apple, Walmart, Urban Outfitters, Madewell, Everlane, Lululemon, Glossier, Reformation and Anthropologie, among others.

Major shopping malls, including New Jersey’s supersized mall American Dream and California’s South Coast Plaza and Rodeo Drive have also closed.

7. Beauty, Health and Fitness Chains Close

In accordance with Cuomo’s order that all gyms — in addition to other businesses like movie theaters and casinos — in the state of New York were to close on March 16, health and fitness businesses like Equinox, SoulCycle, Tracy Anderson, 305 Fitness and SLT, among others, have closed.

Gym closures have led many to gravitate to at-home streaming workouts, including from businesses like Peloton, Exhale, DanceBody, Barre3, Skyting Yoga, The Sculpt Society, Pvolve, Physique57 and MWH Method, among others.

On the beauty front, Sephora has closed its doors in the U.S. and Canada and Ulta Beauty is reducing its hours and discontinuing all services. Other New York City beauty spots, including Bumble and bumble, Heyday, Glowbar, Sundays Studio, Chillhouse, Blushington and Tenoverten have closed temporarily.

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