Last month, retailers across the globe adjusted 258,300 jobs to employ 14.8 million at specialty stores. Economic recovery also led to 1.8 million more jobs in the sector as unemployment rate fell to 10.2 percent from 11.1 percent in June. Nearly half of the retail job gains during the month came from apparel and accessories specialty stores, which added a seasonally adjusted 120,800 jobs last month to employ 924,500. Department stores increased payrolls by 45,100 to 1 million.
Despite improvement, troubling unemployment figures still play into a rough cycle that is made all the more brutal by the Coronavirus and is bearing down on fashion and the broader economy. Among the latest to get trapped were Lord & Taylor parent Le Tote and Tailored Brands, which filed for bankruptcy recently. While Tailored Brands is likely to scale back operations, Le Tote plans to liquidate its assets.
Even retailers that are managing to stay afloat through the crisis are expected to muddle along. Moody’s Investors Service doesn’t expect operating profits in retail to come back to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2022 — at the earliest.