Now experts predict the pandemic and the behavioral changes it’s causing will only accelerate shoppers buying more of their clothes digitally. It’s a tailwind for online-only retailers, which generally haven’t suffered the same downturn as competitors that still rely on stores for most of their sales. It’s also likely to push those competitors to invest more in building up their digital operations.

The tide of new online shoppers hasn’t lifted all companies, however. In a business update yesterday (pdf), luxury firm Richemont said sales for its “online distributors” division, made up of online luxury fashion hub Yoox Net-a-Porter and its Watchfinder site, fell 42% in the quarter. It pointed to its fulfillment centers having to close temporarily as the main reason for the drop. TheRealReal, an online luxury reseller based in the US, also saw its business stumble (pdf) recently and blamed shelter-in-place orders that limited its operations. Otherwise it said demand was healthy in April and May.

As long as they can keep their operations open, fashion’s big online players look better positioned to weather the pandemic and its after-effects, especially if they sell clothes for lounging around the house.

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