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Lack of cash leads to collapse of half of Chinese retailers

Data compiled by Bloomberg and Company covering 50 listed firms, almost half of China’s listed consumer companies don’t have enough cash to survive another six months, underscoring the urgent task Beijing has to re-start its economy and get shoppers spending again.

Restaurants are in the worst shape as COVID-19 outbreak has kept consumers at home, with about 60 per cent unable to cover labor and rental costs.. Among jewelry and apparel companies, almost half don’t have the cash to last the six months unless demand rebounds sharply, the data show.

While the number of Coronavirus infections in China has tapered off and retailers including Starbucks and Haidilao International Holding have reopened more of their stores in low-risk areas, demand looks unlikely to rebound quickly as consumers remain hesitant to leave their houses after weeks of government warnings about the dangers of mingling with others.

China is also now on guard for a second wave of infections, in part from people traveling back to the country from other affected areas. Although Chinese factories have resumed production, hopes of a V-shaped recovery in retail and services have waned as the pandemic widens globally, sickening over 210,000 people and killing over 8,700. Economists now expect $2.7 trillion to be wiped from the global economy.

Many of China’s small and medium businesses are already collapsing as they run out of cash, but the vulnerability of the publicly listed consumer companies points to greater economic danger, as some of these employ thousands of workers across the country.