China coronavirus scare hurts retail sales of global luxury brands

22 January 2020 (Last Updated February 13th, 2020 11:35)

The outbreak of Wuhan coronavirus in China has started hurting the retail sales of international fashion brands, with some top players in the sector already feeling the heat.


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The outbreak of Wuhan coronavirus in China has started hurting the retail sales of international fashion brands, with some top players in the sector already feeling the heat.

Early trading on Tuesday saw European luxury stock retreat by almost 4%, which amounts to $15bn being take off from the sector’s market value.

On the same day, Reuters reported that shares in European luxury goods companies including LVMH, Richemont, Burberry, Gucci owner Kering, fell by between 1.9% and 3%.

The shares of Moncler and Salvatore Ferragamo also declined by 2.6% and 2%, respectively. These companies are said to derive a major share of their revenues from the Asia and Asia-Pacific markets.

Coronavirus, which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, belongs to a large group of viruses that affect the respiratory tract and could cause pneumonia or bronchitis. It is believed to have had arisen from a wholesale seafood market in the city.

So far, it has claimed the lives of nine people and infected over 400 in China.

The virus has also spread to half a dozen other countries and territories, including the US. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has already confirmed the first US case of the virus.

The outbreak comes at a time when several people are gearing up for the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Celebrated for nearly a fortnight, the holiday season is also a peak retail season in China and abroad. The virus scare could discourage Chinese consumers from shopping.

Moreover, it comes after the US and China ended their 18-month trade war with the signing of phase one deal.