Thursday, 2 April 2020

CEO of menswear label Pal Zileri says effects of Covid-19 on business “devastating”

“The effect of coronavirus on our company has been devastating. All our 20 mono-brand stores in Europe and the rest of the world are closed. All of our commercial partners’ stores, whether in Spain, France, the UK and of course Italy, are also closed. Our spring/summer collection isn’t selling, because our commercial partners aren’t selling either, and are unable to pay us on schedule.” This is how Marco Sanavia, CEO of long-established Italian menswear label Pal Zileri, has described the effects of the COVID-19 emergency on his group, talking to the ADN Kronos agency.

Sanavia said that “we received pre-orders and orders for the fall/winter collection, which we are about to produce, but we don't know what to do, because the orders are gradually being canceled. There’s a big question mark on the next spring/summer season because the men’s fashion week has been postponed. At the same time, the company is currently closed, so we are unable to produce samples.” Sanavia added that “while some of our staff are working remotely to continue with customer service and collection design activities, we are aware that, if the situation isn’t resolved, we’ll be brought to a standstill, and our revenue for the past few weeks has been zero.”

According to Sanavia, the measures adopted so far by the Italian government to fight the COVID-19 emergency may not be sufficient. “We are concerned that the measures introduced by the government, including the nine-week temporary redundancy arrangement, aren’t enough. This is because Pal Zileri, like many others, operates its manufacturing and retailing businesses under one company and, as we introduce temporary redundancies for the stores - which we have rightly been asked to close - we risk not having access to the same measures for the manufacturing part of the business, which operates on a different time-scale.”

Yet, as Sanavia made clear, this is only one of the issues: “There’s a liquidity problem too. Also, [the Italian government] hasn’t been clear about rents, we operate our own stores, and some of our commercial partners to are struggling. Broader, more robust measures are needed to support household income and businesses.”

Once the emergency is over, Pal Zileri is hoping to take off again on the basis of the positive results achieved before the COVID-19 outbreak. “We are confident, our majority shareholder is very supportive, and is making major donations. Despite the fact that the menswear sector is struggling, we finally managed to post highly positive results in the last few years. We are growing strongly and our products cover the whole range of daily menswear needs. Our design style is widely appreciated, and the collections were doing very well in January. Our goal is to restart as soon as possible, and to do even better than before,” concluded Sanavia.

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