As Italy deals with one of the most severe coronavirus outbreaks beyond China, makers of products in the country from cheese and wine to leather shoes are struggling with disrupted production and dropping demand. Lombardy, which houses the industrial center of the country, and Veneto were the most impacted, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Antonio Croce in one of Lombardy’s quarantined towns had to stop Gorgonzola production as workers who resided beyond the “red zone” couldn’t travel to the production facility. He does, however, have a permit to mail cheese that is ready to be eaten. As a result, employees who live within the quarantine area can fulfill some orders.
They are also working with cheese that is progressing to turn into Gorgonzola. “With new production stopped, we are going to have a period in 60 to 80 days when we won’t have any product to sell,” Croce said per the report. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”
Sales have also decelerated in Italy’s wine-producing area of San Colombano del Lambro. Antonio Panigada, however, told the outlet the situation could be worse. He runs the Banino winery and said it is not a busy time of year.
And the country’s fashion-and-textile industry was first impacted in February. At the time, production in some areas of China had stopped. Most fashion brands had to close some shops as authorities aimed to keep the coronavirus contained.
In separate news, Venture capital firm Sequoia Capital warned in a message to entrepreneurs that the coronavirus could possibly be the herald of a “prolonged” global economic slowdown. Sequoia, known as a soothsayer of sorts for the industry, said the virus outbreak may fundamentally change the globe’s business landscape.
Its editorial, titled “Coronavirus: The Black Swan of 2020,” recommended that companies start looking at revising sales forecasts, stockpiling cash and cutting costs for products.