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ASK THE EXPERTS: HOW WILL CHINESE LOCKDOWNS AFFECT THE SUPPLY CHAIN?

by Steve Pruitt

Q: How will the Chinese lockdowns affect supply chain issues in fashion? I’m reading about merchandise piling up in ports and climbing freight costs. Should I be worried about getting deliveries later this year?

A: It seems like every time we turn around there is another headwind to business. But, at the same time sales are still very good in our client stores. It’s really the merchants at the middle level and down that rely heavily on Chinese imports.

In the case of our better and luxury stores, a large percent of the merchandise comes from Europe, thank goodness. But the shipping situation could still have a knock-on effect.

Our advice: 
1. Get your orders placed now. The likelihood of chasing goods in-season will be a challenge. 
2. Keep the communication channels open with your vendors, and talk often.
3. Be prepared to take early deliveries if merchandise somehow finds its way in.
4. Don’t plan on heavy promotions. You may get only enough for full-priced business.

I know it’s odd: the more difficult it is to do business (staff shortages, supply chain delays) the better business has been. So, keep a positive attitude for now.