The t-shirts, jackets, sneakers and jeans they were gearing up to push out for the spring shopping season now sit sitting in darkened stores and warehouses during the coronavirus crisis. Demand for discretionary items has come to a screeching halt as customers focus on stocking up on the basics they need to survive.
“This is going to be an unprecedented level of inventory that’s available,” said Jamie Merriman, retail analyst at Bernstein. “We haven’t seen demand on a global basis take this sharp a hit in my lifetime.”
Retailers made decisions months ago about what to buy from their suppliers, when the economy was strong and consumer spending was projected to be robust. They could not have imagined that they would be grossly overestimating demand.
“This is an event that there is no systemic capacity to predict or respond to,” said Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at the Columbia … Read More