News from Germany: HDS/L and buying groups recommend postponing the season timings in footwear and leather goods sector

The corona crisis has had dramatic effects on the fashion business. Exactly at the start of the season, in Germany local stores of stationary footwear and leather goods retailers had to implement a mandatory shut-down and close their doors for more than five weeks. Although most stores in Germany were allowed to reopen under strict conditions starting on April 20 or 27, the pressure is immense. “It will be difficult, if not impossible, to regain the lost sales of the past weeks and sell the current goods in the remaining ‘rest of the season,’ fears HDS/L Chairman Carl-August Seibel.

 

To limit the financial effects of the Corona pandemic on the footwear and leather goods sector as much as possible, HDS/L – in close coordination with the buying groups SABU and ANWR– recommends a modified season timing in Germany. Stephan Krug, managing director of SABU, reinforces this approach: “So we can sell more seasonal goods, we are requesting an extension of the 2020 spring/summer season. After this crisis threatening our existence, there cannot be a ‘carry on as usual!’” With this new, long overdue correction of the season timing and supply of the goods, market and consumer needs correspond to each other again, according to Stephan Krug. This is not only a reaction to the present crisis, but it also concerns the general market situation. Stephan Krug puts it in a nutshell: “The sector now has it in its hands to lead the way to the future through uniform, solidary cooperation based on partnership!”

 

The recommendations expressed by industry and retail include, among others, a longer regular season, pushed-back delivery deadlines and new trade fair dates adapted to these timings. ANWR board member Fritz Terbuyken also supports the new season timing: “The trade fairs will also have to reinvent themselves. I see an opportunity for the future in this, to come closer to the selling period once again. Because it is precisely the adjustment to the seasonal cycles which has been discussed for many years. It will probably be easier for us to bring the collections once more closer to the real needs than before corona.”

 

The German Federal Cartel Office has no objections against the measures coordinated by HDS/L and the buying groups. Specifically, the measures include:

 

  1. In order to sell the high inventories caused by the corona shutdown better, the selling period for footwear and leather goods of the 2020 spring/summer season is extended by four weeks.
  2. The delivery of footwear and leather goods for the 2020/21 fall/winter season will also take place four weeks later. Thus, the selling period of the fall/winter collections is likewise pushed back by a month. The later invoicing ensures the significant improvement of the liquidity situation in retail for the 2020/21 fall/winter season. The postponement of possibly already confirmed delivery deadlines must be individually discussed between supplier and retailer.

This new seasonal timing pushed back by a month will also be adopted like this for the subsequent season. A more differentiated timing of transitional season goods (earlier) and seasonal goods (later) is reasonable.

  1. For the 2021 spring/summer season, the order and trade fair deadlines are likewise postponed by four weeks, which implies in turn later delivery deadlines and a sales period postponed by a month in the spring/summer of 2021.
  2. All the sector, in-house and order fairs as well as the season start in the ordering centers will be accordingly adjusted to this new postponed timing.

 

HDS/L, ANWR and SABU call upon all participants of the sector to take up these recommendations and put them into practice. “We are pleased that the regular selling season can now be expanded to the months of June and July. This allows retailers to still sell as many goods as possible – but that is not all: By doing this, we can finally take the long-debated step to adjust the selling time to weather conditions and the season and to make it a reality,” Carl-August Seibel looks confidently to the future.