Industry May 28, 2020 11 min read

Coronavirus daily updates – how retailers are responding to the COVID-19 crisis

As retailers continue to work through the impacts of this pandemic, transparency through communications and announcements are paramount to preserving customer relations.

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As retailers continue to work through the impacts of this pandemic, transparency through communications and announcements are paramount to preserving customer relations.

Despite the uncertainty in the current state of the market, EDITED data can ease some of the strain your business might be going through by transforming your current processes. Get in touch to see a demo today.

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Thursday – May 28th

‘Summer’s back on’ sale events and pretend beaches

  • Perry Ellis promoted its ‘Summer’s Back On’ sale event as a ‘mood boost’ for customers
  • Marks and Spencer pushed ‘feelgood bras’ as an alternative to loungewear
  • H&M drew attention to its efforts in product PPE and the positive impacts of the pandemic – ‘triggering a surge of solidarity’
  • Fashion World drew on staycation themes with the line ‘let’s pretend to go to the beach’, while ‘warm weather outfits’ were the focus at Loft Outlet and ‘Hello sunshine’ at Debenhams
  • Father’s Day gifting picked up at Nordstrom Rack with an activewear push, alongside Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • Coccinelle highlighted it’s mid-season sale, offering newsletter customers an extra 15% off
  • Best & Less stated that ‘Our stores are open’
  • Burton Snowboards hosted a Happy Hour with Tony Hawk
  • ERDEM released limited-edition sustainable face masks
  • Joules sent a pastel summer email alongside the message ‘wherever your summer takes you, the lounge, garden or maybe now a little further…’
  • After the recent sunny days in the UK, Matalan promoted ‘dreaming of summer…we’ve already had a little taste of early sunshine’

Further announcements and in the news:

  • Copenhagen Fashion Week plans to go ahead from the 9-12 August
  • Signs of recovery are reported at Abercrombie & Fitch with sales back to 80% of pre-pandemic levels in US reopened stores
  • May sales in China are up more than 10% for Prada
  • Harrods plans to open an outlet store in June to sell through leftover spring inventory – an alternative highlighted in our recent report How to Recession Proof Your Discounting Strategy
  • BBC confirms Emily Maitlis was not replaced on Newsnight following her comments on the Dominic Cummings situation, in contrary to stories circulating on Wednesday evening
  • The test & trace system has started in Scotland and England to help control the spread as lockdowns lift
  • Easyjet will cut 30% of jobs as the budget airline do not expect to see a return to demand until 2023
  • The National Trust will reopen some gardens and parklands from June 3rd, visitors will have to book ahead
  • Nicola Sturgeon announced that Scotland will move to phase 1 of easing lockdown restrictions as the R number has been below one for a period of three weeks
  • Boots reported its new health and safety measures including one-way routes for selected stores and a ‘triaging’ process for customer needs
  • ASOS Marketplace has seen growth in traffic and strong sales across April and May – despite lockdown

Wednesday – May 27th

A grim milestone in the US and reimagining summer stories

  • Miista teased that its stores ‘are reopening!’ and to ‘stay tuned for further details’
  • Missguided’s ‘Staycation Summer’ email included ‘the looks you need for all those holidays in your garden’ in small print
  • Academy’s top banner promoted ‘curbside pickup’ while the main focus was on grill activity – there was also a bottom story ‘we’ve got what’s essential to always be prepared’ with accessories for outdoor gatherings
  • Pacsun’s swimwear story featured a model posing in a kitchen while its menswear email advertised a gamer takeover by Cloud 9 streamer @c9bunnyfufuu
  • Jules B lead with masks for kids – ‘keep your kids safe’, specifying these designs are for those ages 5 – 11 and 30% of sales go to NHS charities
  • Lou and Grey push accessories for an instant mood boost
  • ASOS promoted pastel colors, summer sandals as ‘The Mood This June’ as well as reminded customers to keep connected on Instagram and TikTok for ideas to keep bust until things return to normal
  • Debenhams ran an up to half price on occasionwear offer promoting events such as virtual proms alongside the message ‘be ready for the influx of invitations for those better days again’
  • Forever 21 promoted activewear for a ‘summer of self-care’
  • First Base ran Chapter 3: The Final Chapter of its isolation survival guide including its founder’s picks for return to normal and beyond

Further announcements and in the news:

  • The US death toll passes 100,000
  • Protests broke out in Pakistan with garment workers calling for better pay and working conditions after coronavirus caused mass firings and payment cancellations for orders
  • Ralph Lauren reported a net revenue decline by 15.4% for the period ending 28th of March and predicts it’s 2021 performance will also be impacted by COVID-19
  • 2,500 furloughed employees return to H&M’s headquarters in Stockholm
  • The European Union has put forward a €750 billion stimulus package to help the economy recover from COVID-19
  • JD.com will partner with short video platform Kuaishou to live stream sales deals ahead of its 618 mid-year shopping festival
  • The Netherlands announced lockdown measures will be brought forward two months earlier with gyms and saunas reopening on the 1st of July
  • The number of Tory MPs calling for Dominic Cummings resignation stood at more than 35 on Wednesday morning
  • The UK government confirmed that smaller regional lockdowns could be put in place to control further outbreaks in different parts of the country
  • The final patient in New Zealand hospitalized with the virus has been discharged
  • South Korea reported the largest number of new cases in a single day for 49 days with 40 new cases
  • Latin America is now the center of the pandemic with the most new daily cases
  • The prestigious Turner Prize will not be awarded this year, instead the £10,000 prize fund will be distributed as bursaries to artists in hardship
  • In lieu of Glastonbury, The BBC revealed four days of programming across the weekend that would have been the festival’s 50th celebration, including a pop-up channel
  • To keep business and households afloat, Japan will offer a new stimulus of over $1 trillion, its second economic package in over a month
  • Quarantine-free flights will be trialed between Australia and New Zealand within the next few weeks to test resuming worldwide international flights

Tuesday – May 26th

The UK plans its reopening and further reliance on digital

  • White Stuff featured a ‘color therapy’ story – we recently investigated The Power Of Color
  • Boden followed suit with its latest email – ‘Bright Relief: find joy in the little things, like dreamily detailed prints, head-turning hues and too-good-to-miss dresses’
  • Nike also advertised ‘vibrant, new gear to brighten any day’
  • Urban Outfitters harnessed the power of prints encouraging positive vibes with feel-good graphic tees and tie-dye in its ‘Happy Edit’
  • Australian retailers called out the fact that lockdown rules have been loosened – White Fox Boutique lead with ‘Iso exit outfit complete’ and Cotton On featured a story titled ‘too cute to stay indoors’
  • boohooMAN promoted new comfort fits from £5
  • Accessorize curated an edit of ‘things we’re looking forward to’ such as dinner with friends and kids playdates
  • Ounass sent a ‘Fresh Essentials’ email to plan outings post-lockdown
  • Retailers continued to communicate stocking PPE – Illesteva announced face shields are available while Intermix restocked its non-medical grade masks in support of Feeding America
  • Nicole Miller promoted a sample sale donating to the fight against COVID-19

Further announcements and in the news:

  • • Tommy Hilfiger broadcasted its first live stream event in Europe and North America on tommy.com to sell its Spring range
  • While Galeries Lafayette remains closed in Paris, it launched a virtual service allowing customers to shop luxury goods via a live video chat
  • South Africa will ease restrictions on places of worship from the 1st of June
  • President Vladimir Putin has stated Russia has passed the peak of pandemic
  • With UK stores reopening from the 15th of June, Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove has said customers will need to ‘exercise restraint’ when touching, testing and trying on products
  • Despite non-essential retail remaining closed on the UK high street over the bank holiday weekend, footfall was a third higher than over the Easter weekend, signaling pent-up demand for brick-and-mortar retail
  • The UK government launched a £50m Reopening High Street Fund to support councils in applying safety measures such as signs, barriers and street markings to help stores reopen post-lockdown
  • New Jersey schools will be allowed to hold outdoor graduation ceremonies from the 6th of July as well as professional sports teams may return to training
  • The Dominic Cummings story has not been laid to rest. Journalists grilled MP Michael Gove on morning television further on the matter and it remained the front story on newspapers
  • Memes inspired by Cummings’ statement on Monday evening have been widely circulated, in particular one that references the Specsavers logo and Barnard Castle (where he drove to ‘test his eyesight’)
  • Vaccine trials have started in Australia, while the WHO have suspended testing of hydroxychloroquine
  • The NHS made a call for those who’ve recovered and have antibodies to donate plasma for treatment trials
  • Spain backtracked on its decision to quarantine visitors for two weeks from July
  • As lockdown restrictions have begun to be relaxed, the WHO warns of the possibility of a second wave

Monday – May 25th

Retailers promote Memorial Day discounts and a fresh start

  • In line with Memorial Day (US) and Bank Holiday Monday (UK) discounting was the lead story
  • Tommy Hilfiger promoted Memorial Day as a ‘thank you event’ with 40% off sitewide
  • American Eagle Outfitters ran 50% off all MLB gear advertising a ‘fresh start’
  • Havaianas ran a Memorial Day offer with 30% off 2 or more styles alongside the message ‘stay home in style’
  • Adore Me promoted swimwear with the message ‘shop suits perfect for when you (finally) get to go to the beach’
  • Rag & Bone thanked customers for helping feed one million New Yorkers in need through sales of its masks to support charity City Harvest
  • Everlane pushed its denim shorts for ‘even if you’re just heading to the backyard’
  • Hudson’s Bay welcomed customers back and announced all stores are now open
  • Coccinelle sent an email announcing ‘a new beginning!’ with the reopening of stores in the UK and Italy
  • New Look offered 25% off, with bright and zesty graphics and the tagline ‘happiness is…’
  • Tradesy poked fun at how people were unable to host parties with its ‘party for one’ story
  • App exclusive deals were noted at Wallis (10% off) and at ASOS (20% off) with the code APPLOVIN
  • La Coqueta pushed swimwear with ‘Make A Splash (Indoors)’

Further announcements and in the news:

  • US Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, made his first public appearance after more than two months in quarantine to lay a wreath at a Memorial Day ceremony wearing a black face mask. Despite social distancing measures still in place, hundreds of Americans flocked to beaches over Memorial Day weekend
  • All non-essential retail stores can reopen in England from the 15th of June
  • Singapore will move to the second phase of reopening at the end of June
  • There are increased calls for Dominic Cummings to stand down following revelations over the weekend. Boris Johnson’s support of Cummings last night backfired with The Mail, traditionally supportive of the Tory government, amongst the papers with damning front covers Monday morning
  • In an unusual move, Dominic Cummings will make a statement later today and answer questions
  • The Southbank center in London has warned that they may need to remain closed until 2021
  • The US has banned travel from Brazil after a spike in cases in the country
  • Children in parts of Australia have returned to school
  • Greece gears up to reopen to tourists and ferry services between islands has resumed

Sunday – May 24th

Deep sales continue while global reopenings include high-risk businesses and religious places of worship

  • Blanket discounts ranging from 25% – 50% off were advertised by retailers including La Redoute, Habitat, Maurices, Nautica and Sandro
  • The events hosted by Anthropologie next month are in support of NHS Charities Together – a voluntary donation is available during event booking
  • Linen was a popular fabric across retailers with Old Navy highlighting ‘breezy linen stripes’ and Uncommon Sense promoting ‘sleeveless linen dresses’
  • Even though some beaches might have opened this weekend, retailers still pushed ‘staycation’ stories – this term was used as a discount code at Eberjey and a theme for dressing up this summer while still at home
  • Midi-length dresses were trending at retailers like Nicole Miller and Revolve
  • Floral was the popular pattern of choice across both men’s and women’s bathing suits
  • In an attempt to brighten the mood, Hannah Andersson paired products with fun graphics and the phrase ‘sun, stripes and smiles’, while Carter’s expressed the same charm with the tagline ‘sun, fun & swim’ to promote its swim collection
  • American Eagle Outfitters’ brand Aerie started producing face masks – advertising in an email that 20% of all sales will go to Crisis Text Line
  • Sales on top of existing discounts were offered by Woman Within in honor of Memorial Day Weekend
  • Kohl’s started encouraging Father’s Day purchases ahead of the holiday on 21st June, linking to the Father’s Day gift shop
  • DSW is accepting curbside donations of new or gently-worn shoes with a $10 reward to the retailer

Further announcements and in the news:

  • The front page of The New York Times featured an article titled ‘An Incalculable Loss’ as the number of US COVID-related deaths edges closer to 100k
  • The number of confirmed global coronavirus cases has surpassed 5 million
  • Car rental company Hertz filed for bankruptcy
  • Arkansas is experiencing a second wave of infections this weekend, traced back to a pool party gathering
  • South Africa will reopen its economy next month despite a rise in confirmed cases
  • ‘High-risk’ businesses in Iran will reopen Tuesday 26th May and religious shrines and mosques will reopen Monday the 25th following the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson, backed his senior advisor Dominic Cummings’ decision to travel over 260 miles from London to Durham at the height of the UK’s lockdown for ‘childcare reasons’. A Tweet followed the briefing from @UKCivilService reading ‘Arrogant and offensive. Can you imagine having to work with these truth twisters?’ and though immediately deleted, it spread across the platform
  • Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele, has revealed he ‘will abandon the worn-out ritual of seasonalities and shows’, scaling back its fashion shows to twice a year

Saturday – May 23rd

National BBQ Week and swimwear edits for the holiday weekend

  • Abercrombie & Fitch featured an occasionwear collection ‘for virtual events and all those future special occasions’
  • Shopbop promoted ‘3 low-key looks to try’ including sporty sleek, minimalist cool and playful prep
  • Yellow shades featured at Uncommon Sense akin to sunny days ahead
  • Lulu’s featured several white dress styles messaging ‘you need a vacation from your staycation, even if it’s just indoors’
  • Gap transported customers back a few decades with a nostalgic edit including shortalls and bucket hats
  • J.Crew featured swimwear tapping into ‘the spirit of vacation, wherever you may be’
  • Dresses were the star category at retailers like Bealls, Uncommon Sense, boohoo and Missguided
  • Memorial Day savings were in full swing including up to 50% off at Dick’s Sporting Goods and 70% off at Belk
  • Uniqlo pushed polo shirts as an everyday essential
  • Matches dedicated an email to Staycation Style acknowledging that ‘vacation plans may be on pause, but sunshine is not’
  • Nicole Miller and Henri Lloyd dedicated emails to face masks
  • Lululemon encouraged customers to ‘add some stretch to your schedule’ with a yoga edit
  • It’s National BBQ Week at Asda with the retailer pushing grills and outdoor furniture along with a cooking lesson Instagram Live
  • Matalan suggested a movie night in with the family alongside tips for the occasion
  • Sweaty Betty debuted its limited-edition charity tee for the NHS with 100% of profits going to NHS Charities Together

Further announcements and in the news:

  • A fire broke out in San Francisco, so far devastating a quarter of Pier 45 at Fisherman’s Wharf
  • The US death toll from coronavirus is nearing 100,000 while the UK passed 36,500
  • Brazil has overtaken Russia in reporting the second-highest number of infections worldwide at over 330,000
  • WHO is now calling South America the new epicenter for COVID-19
  • The MAGIC tradeshow, set to take place in August in Last Vegas, has been postponed to September
  • The NHL Players Association has approved a plan for a 24-team tournament to resume the 2019-20 season
  • The NBA and Disney are discussing plans to re-start the basketball season in late July with games held at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando
  • Liga MX has officially canceled the remainder of its 2020 seasons

Friday – May 22nd

The long weekend, dresses and hygiene

  • UK retailers looked towards the long weekend with boohoo stating it isn’t canceled, while Hush gave its customers insight into what its team members would be getting up to over the break
  • With many stores remaining closed, Free People provided an expert’s ‘words of advice’ on how to buy perfume online
  • Burberry pushed its Burberry Sessions – ‘a series of intimate performances by emerging musical artists to inspire and connect our Burberry Community’
  • Dresses continue to be a strong focus at John Lewis & Partners and Miss Selfridge, with the latter sending an email with the subject line ‘dresses you won’t want to take off’
  • Hackett partnered with Mr. Slowboy to create a series of illustrations depicting ‘the Hackett gentleman at home’
  • Never Fully Dressed looked to the sunnier climes of Santorini
  • Timberland sent an email stating ‘nature, we’re on our way back’, encouraging customers to shop with 40% off
  • Zara Home promoted its natural skincare range, with a strong focus on hygiene

Further announcements and in the news:

  • The UK government borrowed a record £62.1bn in April
  • Fears Latin America is to become the pandemic’s next epicenter grow, as Brazil’s death toll hits 20,000
  • China has scrapped its 2020 economic growth target for the first time ever
  • Australia has said it should be exempt from the UK’s proposed two-week quarantine for international arrivals
  • Burberry has seen its full-year profits drop by 62% to £169m as a result of the pandemic
  • Reebok has designed a conceptual fitness face mask, although there are no plans to bring it to market yet
  • London bus fares will resume on Saturday, the TFL has announced
  • Manchester United revealed that the pandemic has cost them £28m so far
  • The R number in the UK has remained steady for the second week running
  • Cinemas, museums and theaters reopen in Denmark
  • The ‘Clap For Carers’ founder suggests next Thursday’s 10th celebration should be the last
  • Wetherspoons has revealed its reopening plans, including an initial investment of £11m to protect its customers and workers
  • Kurt Geiger has also issued its store reopening plans. It predicts it will spend an extra £75,000 on running each of its stores this year due to new heathy and safety procedures

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