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Fast-fashion brands hit hard by coronavirus

Fast-fashion companies — especially those with physical retail, like H&M, Zara and Mango — are finding themselves in a tough spot as coronavirus spreads across Europe and the U.S.

Data from Quantum Metric shows though online apparel revenue growth to have increased by 43 per cent from this time last year — fast-fashion companies are in a difficult position, both those with retail stores and e-commerce-only businesses. While companies like Princess Polly, Forever 21 and H&M are trying to pivot, using their websites to promote comfortable apparel for those staying at home, the trend-driven nature of the business puts these brands at risk.

Most fast-fashion companies are offering steep discounts during this time in an effort to sell some of that inventory. Forever 21 is offering 25 per cent off a purchase of $75 or more, encouraging customers to stay in and save, and Princess Polly is pushing 15 per cent-25 per cent off, depending on how much customers spend. Forever 21 and Princess Polly did not respond to a request for comment.

Most brands are promoting lounge and activewear products to customers through their websites, social media and customer emails, as more people stay at home.

According to Quibit’s data, fast-fashion companies across the U.S., United Kingdom, Italy, France and Spain are set to see sales slip by 20 per cent in the month of March.

While both fast-fashion brands with physical stores and online-only brands are struggling right now, Maria Haggerty, CEO of fulfillment and logistics company Dotcom Distribution, said e-commerce-only brands will likely see the most benefit in the coming weeks compared to those like H&M and Zara.