Can Technology Save Bridal Retail?
The Bridal Council decided it was best that members not travel to New York for its spring market event. It was Feb. 27, weeks before most of the industry temporarily shut its doors or delayed events due to the spread of the coronavirus. “We started to hear everything going on with COVID in different parts of the world, but not realizing how bad it was going to become for us here in the United States,” said Michele Iacovelli, executive director of The Bridal Council.
The luxury bridal designers who make up the membership of The Bridal Council instead turned to technology, presenting their latest collections in virtual or digital presentations. A number of brands quickly developed digital assets including images, lookbooks and, in some cases, video.
Now, months later, New York Luxury Bridal Fashion Week is again going digital for its October market, building on its pivot from in-person runway events. “As everyone’s health and well-being is our main concern, this approach will allow for the designers’ collections to be seen by the retailers, media and other industry professionals, without needing to travel to NYC,” the organization said in a July press release. Read more on Retail Dive
Hermès Quarterly Sales Hit by Pandemic Lockdowns
Even the maker of the iconic Birkin bag, the world’s most resilient luxury product, is feeling the brunt of pandemic-induced lockdowns across the globe.
Hermès International’s sales dropped 42 percent in the three months through June, the company said in a statement on Thursday. Analysts were expecting a 40 percent slide based on constant exchange rates.
Hermès tends to be the industry’s most hardy player in times of crisis thanks to its leather goods, demand for which has long outpaced supply. But sales at the unit sagged 40 percent last quarter. Rivals Prada and LVMH were also hit by plunging demand as the coronavirus outbreak forced stores to close their doors and kept shoppers at home.
Hermès fell as much as 2.5 percent in Paris trading despite pointing to signs of “a gradual recovery.” Almost all stores have now reopened and the company hired 300 people, mostly in production, according to Chairman Axel Dumas.
The pandemic may have even helped Hermès find more customers online — a big topic for luxury brands.
There were months in the second quarter when all the group’s revenue came from that channel, Dumas said. What’s more, most of those sales were to clients who weren’t regular customers previously. Online sales growth is continuing in China even after stores reopened there, Dumas said.
“It’s really additional business more than a transfer” from one channel another, Dumas said in a conference call. Hermès doesn’t break down online sales.
Revenue from Asia dropped 18 percent last quarter, compared to a 61 percent slide in Europe, as countries like China and South Korea exited lockdowns earlier. Asia accounted for half of Hermès’ revenue last year. Read more on Business of Fashion
Black CBD Founders Find Their Place In Surging Support For Black Lives Matter
The wave of support for Black-founded beauty and wellness brands has come from every facet of the industry. Retailers like Sephora and Credo have taken the 15% Pledge, which guarantees at least 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned brands, and investors are beginning to recognize their very real part in ensuring Black businesses succeed.
But one area of beauty and wellness that has faced even more stigma and bias for founders of color is cannabis.
Since the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, better known as the Farm Bill, passed in December 2018, a flood of CBD brands landed in national retailers. Ulta bet big on Cannuka in stores, while Sephora followed with Lord Jones, and more recently added Prima, Saint Jane and Flora + Bast through its CBD standards initiative that launched in February. CVS, for its part, went wide with Sagely Naturals. Despite the flood of brands available to stock and retailers clamoring to make a statement through their CBD assortments, Black-founded brands have not had the same fanfare as their white counterparts. And this is even with the conversations around health, stress and anxiety swirling. Read more on Glossy
Why Now Is The Time To Stress-Test Your Industrial Supply Chain
Over the past two decades, global supply chains have become the norm. However, procurement and supply-chain professionals have faced a series of ever-more-frequent global and regional challenges in recent years, from natural disasters to escalating trade tensions between major economic blocs (Exhibit 1). As a result, there has been a shift of focus to the challenge of mitigating risk and assessing the resilience of supply chains.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised the topic of supply-chain resilience and rebalancing to boardroom level. Even brief, 30-day disruptions caused by supply-chain vulnerabilities can result in 3 to 5 percent EBITDA margin gaps. As companies look for ways to reduce their exposure to supply-chain risks, we estimate that up to $1 trillion in trade flows in the industrial sector could be rebalanced, and a few countries have the potential to become major destinations of relocated production. Furthermore, advances in technology—and the large-scale adoption of automation and digitization—have reduced the focus on labor cost, further increasing the need for companies to test their supply chains holistically for cost, speed, and risk.
In recent McKinsey surveys conducted before and after the COVID-19 pandemic, the percentage of executives saying they expected to increase their company’s resilience by rebalancing their supply chains had increased from 70 percent to 93 percent. Read more on McKinsey