Lowered demand for new clothing during the COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on the apparel manufacturing industry. Many clothing retailers have had to close their stores to protect customers and staff while retailers still operating online have seen lower demand as consumers spending more time at home have shifted their spending to items like office goods, homewares and games. As a result, some retailers are seeing an oversupply of apparel which has led them to cancel orders and delay new shipments out of fear that they will be left with a large amount of stock they cannot sell. This has left apparel manufacturers struggling to sell or store the unwanted stock.
Seasonality could also have a negative effect on the apparel industry even if demand for clothing returns to normal levels. It is likely that retailers and manufacturers alike will end up with a large amount of unsold spring and winter clothing that they may not see demand for until next year. Although demand for new clothing has fallen, demand for personal protective equipment is at an all time high. Some apparel manufacturers have switched to the production of PPE to help meet this demand. Companies like Gildan, HayneBrands and Merrow Manufacturing have responded to the extremely high demand for PPE by producing protective gowns and face masks to be distributed to healthcare workers.
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