Member Exclusive   //   May 4, 2020

Modern Retail Research: 32% of retailers have now furloughed store staff

A new Digiday/Glossy survey asked 100 executives in beauty, fashion and retail industries how they were responding to the coronavirus outbreak.

Of course, for the vast majority of respondents, optimizing e-commerce channels is the most important step. As more and more people move to shopping online, retailers of all types are trying to make sure their e-commerce and delivery channels are optimized — as wine seller Winc’s co-founder Brian Smith said during a Modern Retail Plus talk last week, this is an opportunity to “meet customers where they are” — aka, at home, on their phones.

For almost a third of respondents, temporarily furloughing store staff is one action, while for 23% of respondents, they will be renegotiating retail leases as stores remain shut. 

Coronavirus will also, as we noted earlier, permanently alter how brands and retailers use physical stores: Temporarily, respondents said they would be “leaving” or reducing the use of nearly every single retail channel, except mass retail stores. The majority of respondents were leaving pop-up shops, shop-in-shops, permanent brand stores, as well as “retail-as-a-service’ platforms.

But permanently, a third of respondents that use “retail as a service” platforms like Neighborhood Goods or Showfields said they would be leaving or reducing their use of the channel. About 10% of respondents plan to permanently stop using pop-up shops, while 15% said they’d stop using mass retail stores and especially boutique stores.