A supplier’s plea to reopen clothing stores in West
Chattogram-based Denim Expert's managing director, Mostafiz Uddin, has been sending an open letter to some leaders in Europe, the UK and the US since February 26 urging reopening clothing stores to ensure sustainable supply chains in garment business.
"The continuing lockdowns…are killing the industry in Bangladesh, leading to hundreds of thousands of job losses, sharp rises in poverty and destitution for young women who rely on this industry as a lifeline," read the letter.
Literally hundreds of factories are shutting down and most may never come back to operation, he said.
Retailers and brands have kept stores closed since December to contain the second wave of Covid-19 infections.
Many European countries started reopening stores partially since March 14 with governments realising employees of consumer and supplying countries were losing jobs, said Uddin.
For instance, if 10,000 jobs in Europe's fashion industry are affected, it will affect 100,000 workers in Bangladesh, said Uddin, who faced work order cancellations after two major European buyers went bankrupt last year.
However, his business is now running well because of the partial reopening of stores.
Many local garment suppliers faced work order cancellations or abnormal payment delays and are still struggling to get payments from buyers who themselves are in financial troubles, he said.
If stores are reopened, even partially, opportunities will be created for money transactions, he said.
"At this moment, retail stores are physically opened on appointment basis for customers or for online purchases," said Steven Collet, ambassador for business and development at the Netherlands ministry of foreign affairs.
"Within the current corona measures, and with the continuing pressure on the national health system, the government does not yet see room to fully (physically) reopen the retail stores," said Collet in response to the letter.