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The biggest fashion retailers in Europe after Covid-19: Amazon leads Italy, Intersport takes France

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The biggest fashion retailers in Europe after Covid-19: Amazon leads Italy, Intersport takes France

Sport and the web are, without a doubt, the winners of the pandemic and the fashion ranking in Europe confirms this. The pure players and the giants of the sports industry have risen to the ranking of the largest fashion retailers in Europe in 2020, with cases as extreme as Amazon at the head of the activity in Italy or Intersport at the head of sales in France.

The main fashion markets in Europe have been more or less affected by the Covid-19 crisis. According to data from Kantar, between January and November, fashion sales fell by 21% in Europe, with drops of up to 35% in Portugal.

Among the five largest fashion markets in Europe, Spain was the hardest hit, with a 25% drop in sales between January and December. In Italy, on the other hand, the drop was 24% between January and November, while in the United Kingdom, the drop was 20% and France and Germany 19%.

With stores closed due to the lockdown and social distancing measures imposed in every country, online sales have exploded. In 2020, e-commerce accounted for over 30% of the total fashion market in the European Union, with shares of up to 48% in the United Kingdom or 33% in Germany. In France, Italy and Spain, the online share was 23%, 22% and 19% respectively in 2020.

With e-commerce imposed as a winning channel and the rise of sport in reaction to the lockout and the search for more comfortable clothing to be at home, the ranking of fashion leaders in Europe is changing.

In Germany, the largest fashion market in Europe, Zalando was the second largest clothing retailer in 2020, only preceded by H&M, which despite its Swedish origin found its main market in neighboring Germany. C&A retains the third position, followed by Galeria Karstadt and Deichmann.

In France, the top 5 fashion retailers are dominated by local players. On the French market, pure players do not manage to climb to the top of the list, unlike the sports giants. Interport was the country’s largest fashion retailer by volume, followed by Leclerc, Decathlon, Kiabi and Galeries Lafayette.

Fashion in the UK is also dominated by local retailers. In addition, the country is more resistant to both the impact of pure players and to sport. The UK fashion top 5 is led by Marks & Spencer, followed by Next, Primark, George and F&F (Tesco). All five groups have made a significant shift towards comfortable clothing in recent months.

While in Germany, France and UK local actors are leading the way, in Italy and Spain, the picture is quite the opposite. In both countries, only one of the top 5 companies is based in the same market.

Amazon has, in fact, succeeded in taking the crown of fashion distribution in a market with as much tradition in the sector as Italy. Behind the American group, the Italian channel OVS, the French group Decathlon, the German pure player Zalando, and the Swedish giant H&M appear in the ranking. Italy has therefore been permeable to online and sports trends.

Finally, in Spain, although during the spring lockdown Amazon was one of the country’s leading fashion retailers, the group founded by Jeff Bezos did not follow and the end of fiscal 2020 is closing with the big local store. El Corte Inglés, the country’s largest fashion distributor. Below are Zara, Decathlon, Carrefour and Primark.

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