We spoke with Jehan Mutaliph (Chief Digital Officer, MAS Holdings), who provided us with his supply chain insights and observations on the fashion industry, as well as a look ahead on how MAS is leveraging technology to sustain growth during the current disruption.
Firstly, wish everyone a very happy new year. May the new year 2021 be a lot better than the troublesome 2020 we just got rid of.
Historically, analysts see the Fashion and Lifestyle industry as being laggards when it comes to technology adoption. But the pandemic has definitely pushed the retailers to adapt & innovate or perish.
For the Fashion and Retail industry, 2021 will continue to be a defining moment to showcase resilience and adapt and enable future growth through innovation. It is indeed remarkable to see the resilient retail industry in a year of COVID which has managed to not just ‘not lose ground’ (based on projections of a decline of around 10% for the year as of June 2020), but turnaround and grow 0.8% YoY is incredible to say the least. The stimulus, lack of travel & activities and the rise in overall personal savings for consumers in 2020 helped redirect some of that spend to retail.
Retail’s non-decline notwithstanding, there definitely were a few losers and unfortunately Clothing sector had to deal with a dismal -27% decline in growth YoY due to the pandemic, though there were a few winners like Nike, Lulu, Crocs etc. Word on the street is that the retail pundits are forecasting a resurgence for clothing in 2021, but in my opinion, it might just take a couple of years before the apparel sector gets back its mojo.
When the crisis hit, did it seem like you were fighting a losing battle trying to get critical supply chain insights? This is a scenario most companies can relate to; digital process gaps that lead to massive delays and frustration when it comes to getting critical supply chain insights.