Inditex SA, the world’s largest clothing retailer, and Zara’s parent company, has been hit hard by the pandemic, with a sales decline of 44% to €3.3bn/$3.8bn during the first quarter of its financial year. Considering the sharp downturn in sales, one will understandably wonder about Inditex’s relatively small loss. Here is why: online sales rose significantly during the worst period of the pandemic. Today, the giant Spanish retailer looks forward to the challenges of the post-COVID19’s new reality with self-assurance and an unmatched in-store and online retailing savvy.
In view of very disturbing flare-ups, Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced recently that the army will be on hand to help regions track and trace COVID-19 positives. Sanchez admits that the situation is "worrying" but stresses that Spain is nowhere near the height of the pandemic in mid-March.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez: The Agreement in Brussels of the Coronavirus Recovery Plan marks “one of the most brilliant pages ever written in EU history.” It is “a historic agreement for the economic recovery of our country [i.e., Spain], not only in offering a response to the COVID-19 crisis, but also to the transformations needed.” The Agreement is 95% satisfactory for Spain and 100% for the whole of the EU.
The EU economy will experience a deep recession this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Summer 2020 Economic Forecast projects that the euro area economy will contract by 8.7% in 2020 and grow by 6.1% in 2021. The EU economy is forecast to contract by 8.3% in 2020 and grow by 5.8% in 2021. Early data for May and June suggest that the worst may have passed. The recovery is expected to gain traction in the second half of the year, albeit remaining incomplete and uneven across Member States.
Those who have died in the pandemic “deserve to be remembered; they deserve our lasting remembrance.” An even bigger tribute to the fallen would, however, be “for us to live together in harmony.”
On 2 May, the Government of Spain has given us back a small fraction of our pre-COVID19 freedom. We were let out of our homes for a few hours. It was the beginning of the desescalada. The beginning of something that we don’t know for sure what. But it’s something that feels precious because somehow it smacks of rebirth. In the middle of all the uncertainty, there was one thing unequivocal: a deep sense of gratitude. We wouldn’t be here now, out on our first true taste of sunshine and the soft breeze of spring, without the healthcare workers who have put their own lives on the line so we could live. Their heroism is breathtaking. We’ve lived by the rules so that we all could live even though some of us hadn’t been able to make it. And we grieve for them.
Piazza San Marco: solemn, majestic, always full of tourists, now incredibly empty. Whatis there left for us these days? Perhaps the knowledge that the absurd
frenzy of our life, racing towards emptiness, is not inevitable.
The more successful the containment policies are, and the flatter the infection curve is, the deeper the economic recession becomes. The positive note: there may even be long-term benefits from the lifestyle changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic which are bound to generate innovation and productivity increases; they will be there long after the crisis has passed.