Coronavirus hurts Chinese luxury sales

24 January 2020

The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in China has begun to negatively effect the retail sales of global luxury brands, with some of the sector’s top players already feeling the heat.

Early trading on Tuesday saw stocks in European luxury brands retreat by almost 4%, which amounts to a £13.7 billion loss from the sector’s market value. On the same day, Reuters reported that shares in European luxury goods companies including LVMH, Richemont, Burberry and Kering, fell by between 1.9% and 3%. Shares in 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, causing pneumonia or bronchitis. It is believed to have had arisen from a wholesale seafood market in the city.

So far, the virus 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.



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