IADS White Paper: “Global pandemic, local department stores”
The IADS releases an exclusive study of department stores’ handling of worldwide spring lockdowns
In its “Global pandemic, local department stores” White Paper, the IADS reviews its members’ actions and draws key learnings to prepare new crises and address the future of the department store industry, at a moment when some regions are facing new episodes of lockdown.
A comprehensive review of business practices developed as an aide for crisis management
According to the UNWTO, the 2020 Covid-19 global pandemic triggered a crisis forecast in July to lead to a 5.2% worldwide GDP contraction by the end of the year. Border closures meant an unprecedented decrease of international tourism, estimated to fall by 67% this year alone. With its ties to tourism, retail, representing 1 out of every 12 workers in OECD countries, is durably affected.
Department stores play a central role in the retail landscape by mixing experience and curation in landmark buildings open to everyone in the heart of our towns. They bridge the gap between cities and regions, tourists and locals, online price-oriented convenience and offline emotion and discovery. The Covid-19 context doubly penalises department stores through the drop in tourism and lockdowns of non-essential retail stores, significantly curtailing their domestic markets.
IADS members manage in total 233,000 associates spread over more than 495 points of sales in 19 countries. On average, they had to close in Spring during a period equivalent to 19% of their total 2019 opening time. The IADS dedicated its yearly Academy programme to understanding how its 12 members steered their businesses during lockdowns until reopening. The result of this extensive analysis translates into the first White Paper of its kind, shared by the Association with its members and their peers. Now that a second Covid-19 wave is hitting markets, exchanging learnings is key to allow all retailers to adjust their business practices to the new realities. This White Paper was conceived both as an inventory of practices across the board and as a source of ideas for immediate and future actions.