Coronavirus: Primark could be hit with supply shortages

Accessories, a major category for licensed lines, likely to be worst hit later in the year should factory downtime continue, says parent firm Associated British Foods

Written by Rhys Thomas

Posted 24.02.2020 | Retail

Coronavirus: Primark could be hit with supply shortages thumbnail

Primark may face supply shortages later this year as a result of factory closures in China put in place to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking to Reuters, the fast-fashion retailer’s parent company Associated British Foods says routine stockpiles ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations would mean there would be few issues in the short term. 

But if manufacturing slowdown continues, supply shortages of some lines would be scarce.

John Bason, Financial Director of ABF, highlighted accessories, one of the retailer’s biggest categories for licensed lines, as one of the main concerns.

Despite looking for alternative suppliers in other manufacturing hubs such as Bangladesh, Turkey and areas of Southeast Asia, he says “China is very good at [accessories]” making them “harder to source from elsewhere”.

The coronavirus death toll rose to more than 2,440 over the weekend, with almost 80,000 confirmed cases around the world.

MGA Entertainment, the company behind the L.O.L. Surprise dolls, has warned of similar shortages of its toys should factories remain silent. Founder and CEO Isaac Larian predicts a global slowdown in toy output, as “the biggest toy factory in China” earlier this month extended its downtime.


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