Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian fashion industry is on its breakpoint with no adequate orders from the domestic fashion retailers in May and June and there are no expectations of improvement in July.

On Tuesday, several Twitter users shared a video showing a protest by hundreds of workers outside a Bengaluru factory that produced goods for retailers including H&M. “H&M canceled orders and refused to pay for (the) work done,” a tweet said.

An H&M spokesperson, in response to the tweet, said, “The drop in customer demand due to Covid-19 will inevitably impact suppliers. However, we are placing orders with this supplier and we fully stand by our responsible purchasing practices. We are in dialogue with the supplier and the trade unions to resolve the conflict peacefully.”

“Retailers will be liquidating inventory for the next two months and they will only start placing orders when the cash cycle starts to improve,” said Kulin Lalbhai, executive director at Arvind Ltd that supplies apparel products to both domestic and international clients. “It will mean a couple of months of very low orders. People (retailers) would be cutting down their overall autumn-winter orders by more than 50%.”

“Footfalls have been below expectations in malls as well as in high streets, specifically in the metro cities,” said Rakesh Biyani, managing director of Future Group that sells fashion brands such as FBB, Lee Cooper, Converse, and Clarks.

He said retailers were expecting around 50% of mall traffic to be back, but currently, footfalls in malls are hovering around only 25% of the pre-COVID period.