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Translated by
Robin Driver
Published
May 12, 2020
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Fashion is the biggest victim of European coronavirus restrictions

Translated by
Robin Driver
Published
May 12, 2020

Statistical analyst Eurostat has released its assessment of European retail activities in March 2020, revealing that the industry has seen the most significant decline in sales since the organisation began its reports 20 years ago. Taking all sectors into account, the retail industry experienced a 9.2% year-over-year decrease over the course of the month, despite the fact that, in many countries, lockdown and quarantine measures were only implemented towards the end of the period. 


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As a result of the restrictions imposed in an attempt to control the spread of Covid-19, Eurostat's figures reflect sharply contrasting situations depending on the sector: food retail actually saw an 8.3% increase during the period, while fashion saw sales plummet. 

Sales in European apparel and footwear retail decreased 41.7% compared to March 2019, the largest decline of any sector. Furniture and electronics fared slightly better, posting a decrease of 15.6%, while IT and book sales fell 14.3%. 

From a geographical perspective, it seems that France was the European country most severely affected by declines in retail sales in March, experiencing a 16% decrease. Slovenia and Bulgaria also struggled, with retail sales declines of 15.1% and 14.6%, respectively. Comparatively, Germany (-3.1%) and the UK (-4%) look to have managed a certain measure of damage control. Other countries even saw slight increases during the month, such as Hungary, where sales rose 3.5%, Romania, which posted a 3.1% increase, and Ireland, where total retail sales were up 3%.

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