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Amazon, LVMH, Inditex... Apparel heavyweights rise to the coronavirus challenge

By Angela Gonzalez-Rodriguez


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Business |ANALYSIS

New York – From Amazon to Inditex and LVMH, many big names in the apparel and fashion industry are leading by example in the fight against the coronavirus spread.

Amazon on Tuesday made a priority of medical supplies and household staples, putting shipments of other goods on hold to focus on key items during the coronavirus outbreak.

Simultaneously, Inditex offered its supply chain and manufacturing capabilities to make scrubs and masks, LVMH announced it’s dedicating some of its factories to make hand saniteser and H&M donates through its foundation to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma has been drawing from his personal fortune to contribute masks, ventilators and other medical necessities to the most impacted countries.

Amazon grows to the occasion and prioritises household staples and medical supplies

"We are seeing increased online shopping and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock," Amazon said earlier this week. “Getting a priority item to your doorstep is vital as communities practise social-distancing, particularly for the elderly and others with underlying health issues,” senior vice president of worldwide operations Dave Clark said in a blog post.

"There's enormous pressure on Amazon to meet these increased expectations," said Technalysis Research analyst Bob O'Donnell.

In order to support their staff during these exceptional times, Amazon expects to spend more than 350 million dollars to increase hourly pay in North America and Europe for employees and partners in distribution centres, transportation operations, and stores.

LVMH turns its factories into hand sanitiser manufacturing plants

The French luxury group LVMH said Sunday that it would begin producing sanitising hand gel at three of its perfume and cosmetics sites in France, for distribution to French hospitals fighting the country's coronavirus outbreak. Twelve tons will be produced as soon as this week, being delivered "at no charge" to French health authorities, in particular the 39 public hospitals in Paris, the group said.

"I wish to thank LVMH for acting so quickly: They made us this offer on Saturday night at 9:00 pm (2000 GMT), and confirmed it on Sunday," Paris hospitals chief Martine Hirsch told AFP.

Inditex donates masks and offers its factories to make masks and scrubs at scale

Inditex (ITX.MC) said Wednesday it was studying converting part of its textile manufacturing capacity in Spain to produce hospital gowns. It also said it would make available its vast logistics and supplier network, especially in China, to “meet Spain’s emergency needs of both medical and textile materials” such as protective masks, gloves, goggles and caps.” The Spanish fashion giant has already donated 10,000 masks and another 300,000 were due to be sent by the end of the week.

Alibaba’s Jack Ma donates millions to speed up coronavirus vaccine development

“Drawing from my own country’s experience, speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus,” Ma said in a statement earlier this month. “We hope that our donation can help Americans fight against the pandemic!”

The Chinese billionaire also announced via Twitter that “The first shipment of masks and coronavirus test kits to the US is taking off from Shanghai. All the best to our friends in America.” His Ma Foundation earlier said 500,000 testing kits and 1 million face masks would be donated to the US, CNN reported.

As of March 2, Ma has donated a million masks to Japan and had been trying to ship another million to Iran as of March 6, according to his Weibo posts. He’s also reported to have donated 14 million dollars to help develop coronavirus vaccine.

Foundation donates to covid-19 solidarity response fund

H&M has donated 500,000 dollars to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Initiated to raise money to support prevention, detection, and response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Fund has already received support from Facebook and Google.

Photo courtesy of Dior