A trade group for the U.K. fashion industry is asking for government support for the sector amid the pandemic. The British Fashion Council (BFC) said it “welcomes” the assistance that has been put into place by the government, but notes that a number of fashion companies could not access the programs, according to a statement.
Among other requests, the BFC seeks a "moratorium on payment of duty and tariffs to support the restart of international supply chains and further support liquidity and cash flow in the industry.”
It also seeks grants or interest-free loans to small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that don’t meet the requirements to access proposed government actions, but were “viable” before the pandemic.
The BRC is also seeking “government support to enable lease re-negotiations where landlords aren’t acting responsibly and measures such as grants or long-term, interest-free loans to offset the costs of leases, as well as rent and rates relief for all businesses.” The group notes that it is difficult to maintain retail business with “the commercial value of leases and cost of business rates,” with nearly no travel and forecasted long-term limited traffic.
The trade group noted that there are 890,000 individuals working in the space as of 2019, and that 240,000 direct job losses are forecasted, per Oxford Economics data. The projected job losses increase to 350,000 when including indirect jobs via shopper spending and supply chain. Revenues are also forecasted to fall to £88 billion this year from £118 billion last year.
The news comes as data from Springboard retail experts indicated that traffic across U.K. shopping destinations plummeted by 56.6 percent last month compared to the same month the prior year. However, the group noted that the data displayed an improvement over the 73.3 percent year-on-year fall in May. Also, traffic across all retail locations for the week starting June 15 rose by 40 percent from the prior week.