A vacant storefront where there used to be a Men’s Wearhouse, Brooks Brothers, or J. Crew will be the most obvious sign that the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt the men’s clothing industry, but the closures and low sales across the board for tailored clothing are not the only effects of the pandemic downturn. As fewer people shop and fewer occasions merit a suit or sportcoat, low retail sales and pessimism about the market are rippling through the industries further up the supply chain.
Reuters put some numbers to this year’s collapse:
- Australian merino wool prices are about half what they were in 2019, at 10AUD/kg. Some sheep farmers are sitting on inventory or changing their operations.
- Ettore Piacenza of the Fratelli Piacenza, a renowned Italian mill, estimates some mills have seen sales down 50% – 80%.
- Suits ranked among the highest-discounted and lowest-selling items in France, Italy and Germany in September.
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