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Clothing, footwear sector strives for survival amid COVID-19-induced demand drop

By Maria Weldali - Nov 15,2020 - Last updated at Nov 15,2020

Jordan’s imports of clothes and footwear for 2020’s winter season witnessed ‘a drastic decline’, according to a sector representative (JT file photo)

AMMAN — Even with the advent of winter, the demand for warm clothing and footwear remains limited due to the continued partial and comprehensive lockdowns across the Kingdom, making only basic necessities take precedence in times of a crisis, according to a sector representative. 

“Jordan’s clothing and footwear industry is facing a demand issue. Citizens are grappling with uncertainty about the impact of the pandemic, therefore their purchasing behaviour and priorities have become centred on food, medicine and the basic needs,” Asaad Qawasmi, a representative of the clothing, footwear and jewellery sectors at the Jordan Chamber of Commerce, told The Jordan Times over the phone on Saturday. 

The drop in temperature and weather patterns usually have an impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions, which lead to an increase in sales, but the COVID-19 crisis has changed everything and has compounded the sector’s challenges and problems, Qawasmi said.

“The sector’s retailers saw a shocking drop in revenues, as sales dropped by 70 per cent compared with the same period in 2019,” he added.

There are “fixed expenses and no income”, Qawasmi noted, adding that employers and shopkeepers are facing difficulties in paying their financial dues, and they are not generating enough profit that makes them continue.

Jordan’s imports of clothes and footwear for 2020’s winter season witnessed “a drastic decline” when compared with the previous years as it fell by 14 per cent, Qawasmi said, adding that many retailers and shop owners have closed their doors for good.

Imports of this year’s winter clothes and footwear dropped by JD10 million, going down to JD60 million compared with JD70 million during the same period in 2019, according to Qawasmi.    

The apparel and footwear industry comprises approximately 11,000 stores across the Kingdom and employs around 55,000 workers of which 93 per cent are Jordanians, covering about 60 per cent of stores in the major commercial centres.

There are enough clothes and footwear in stock to cover the demand of Jordan’s market and are sold at stable prices, in addition to many stores having discounts and offers, he added.

 

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