Has Fashion Been Impacted by the ‘Pingdemic’?
3 August 2021
Author: Jasmine Waters
We’ve seen the horror stories – one visit out at the wrong time has ended in countless numbers across the country getting ‘pinged’ by the NHS app to self-isolate. Following the start of the so-called ‘pingdemic’, many UK businesses have also found themselves affected, from shortages to supply chain issues. How has fashion itself been affected, and can it escape the grasp of future hold-ups?
What is the ‘pingdemic’?
So far, the entirety of national retail is having a pretty difficult time. After the record of 618,903 app alerts sent out by NHS England, we saw a dramatic increase of retail workers being forced to stay home. Anton Dell brand Seasalt was one of the unlucky brands hit, telling Retail Week they had been forced to close five stores for one day each due to staff shortages. Despite much of the media coverage remaining centered around essential retail sectors including groceries, industries like fashion are being affected just as badly. Some brands are needing to postpone new store openings, while footfall continues to rise as we head into August.
How are brands preparing?
Sadly, it seems unlikely that fashion retailers will be covered by the isolating exemptions the government are planning to introduce in mid-August. Whether the conditions of the ‘pingdemic’ will continue still remains to be seen. Industry experts attributed the rise in numbers to the combination of freedom day, school holidays and the extreme heat. The worrying initial knock-on effect is that the growing numbers will be off-putting for nervous consumers to make their way back to slightly bigger crowds.
But how are retailers preparing to ride this out? Aside from the uptick in staff absences, supply chain issues are also running rife through almost every major industry. Availability of some fashion goods may be affected, and flexible brands will be able to work around delayed consumer purchases to keep them engaged and returning. As the latest ‘pingdemic’ figures reach 700,00, brands are likely to see closures and reductions of opening hours. Testing and vaccinations will remain key, but that isn’t to say retail won’t be able to handle this. Now more than ever, the general public are empathetic and willing to persevere – and if that means waiting a little while longer for that perfect purchase, so be it.
Photo source: https://www.ft.com/