After the lifting of quarantine measures in Moscow, up to 50% of clothing, footwear and accessories stores may close, Fashion Consulting Group predicts. Large clothing chains, such as Zara, Pull & Bear, Tvoe, have already started to optimize outlets in the shopping centers of the capital. H&M and the Gap may follow suit. Retailers can transfer most of their sales online, which is disadvantageous to owners and managers of shopping centers, as well as consultants of the commercial real estate market. The latter hope that demand will recover in 2021 and the fashion industry will continue to develop in a traditional format.
H&M and Inditex (owns, in particular, the brands Zara, Bershka, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti), taking advantage of the crisis, are planning to close unprofitable stores in some Moscow shopping centers, several consultants of the commercial real estate market told Kommersant. Inditex declined to comment. The representative of H&M insists that all stores of the chain will open in Russia after the restrictions on non-food retail are lifted.

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Meanwhile, a competitor to H&M and Inditex, the American Gap, has already warned that the current crisis could be fatal for the company. Before the outbreak of the pandemic, the chain managed to accumulate $ 1.7 billion, but about half of the amount has already gone to the maintenance of stores closed worldwide. The situation in the global office will lead to optimization of the Russian part of the network, the consultants are sure. It was not possible to promptly get a comment in the Gap. There are about ten stores operating under this brand in Moscow, including points in the Evropeyskiy, Afimall and Metropolis shopping centers.

The clothing chain Tvoe is considering the possibility of closing up to 40 unprofitable stores, says one of Kommersant's sources. Representative of "Tvoe" Artem Chernyshev explained to Kommersant that there is no planned number of stores to close, and decisions are made on the basis of an analysis of the financial results of a specific point and concessions that the owners of premises are ready to make in the current circumstances.

However, not all shopping center owners are ready for dialogue.

“Now most of the negotiations between landlords and tenants are held in an ultimatum manner, since optimization has become a paramount task for each of the parties,” says Oksana Mostyaeva, head of the retail real estate department at Cushman & Wakefield.
One way or another, retailers will have to reduce the number of offline stores due to the growth of the online segment, says Anna Lebsak-Kleimans, CEO of Fashion Consulting Group (FCG).

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According to her forecasts, amid the 2020 crisis, the reduction of traditional stores in the fashion segment will be from 35 to 50%. By the end of 2020, the fall in sales in the fashion market will be up to 35% in money, the expert adds. Last year, the volume of the entire Russian fashion market did not exceed 2.29 trillion rubles, FCG reported earlier. Thus, by the end of the year, the volume of revenue in the entire industry may decrease to 1.48 trillion rubles.

“On the other hand, as we expect, the volume of sales via the Internet may more than double,” says Ms. Lebsak-Kleimans. “If in 2019 the share of online trade in the fashion market was only about 12%, now one third of sales of the total market volume will fall on distance selling. " However, consultants and mall managers do not want to believe in such a rapid paradigm shift. “So far, only 15-20% of shoppers plan to increase their purchases online,” insists Ms. Mostyaeva.

“Online will never become the main sales channel in the fashion segment,” said Evgenia Khakberdieva, director of the retail real estate department at Knight Frank.
The largest percentage of rotations and vacancies in shopping centers will occur among premises up to 300 sq. m, which are occupied by representatives of small and medium-sized businesses, said the head of the lease of commercial premises CBRE Alexandra Chirkaeva. Large chains will continue to search for premises for new stores, agrees Alexey Vanchugov, Managing Partner of Vanchugov & Partners. Ms. Khakberdiyeva expects that the recovery of consumption in the fashion industry can occur in 2021, given a favorable economic and epidemiological situation.