Desigual, the Catalan fashion company, is facing significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s founder, Thomas Meyer, had already recognized the importance of investing in omnichannel development and innovation prior to the pandemic. However, the current situation has intensified the need for the company to reinvent itself.

CEO Alberto Ojinaga explains that Desigual’s main priority has been to ensure its survival and stability. The company has implemented various measures including securing liquidity, revising the cost structure, reducing purchases to align with falling sales, and supporting its suppliers who are also facing difficulties. Desigual has a history of successfully navigating challenging times, having implemented a reorganization plan in 2015 when sales were declining.

Similar to other companies in the fashion industry, Desigual’s existing projects such as digital development and product transformation have been accelerated by the pandemic. The company has experienced positive results in its online channel, with a 70% increase in sales since May. However, physical stores have been greatly impacted by coronavirus-related restrictions. Desigual was forced to close its flagship store in Barcelona and temporarily shut down several stores in Catalonia, Asturias, and Andalusia.

In response to the new circumstances, Desigual is exploring new roles for its physical stores. This includes serving as facilities for shipping, collecting online purchases, and processing returns. The company is also considering expanding customer service capabilities and introducing Click and Collect options. At an international level, Desigual has temporarily closed stores in the UK, Belgium, and France, but some stores will continue internal operations to fulfill online orders.

Desigual is also gradually adapting its workforce to the new situation in order to minimize the impact on jobs. While the company has not disclosed the exact number of positions to be eliminated, it is estimated to be no higher than 30. Desigual plans to leverage natural rotation to overhaul certain positions and reorganize its structure, while reinforcing areas aligned with its strategic priorities, such as digital development and distribution channels.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the current situation, Desigual’s CEO remains optimistic about the company’s future. He believes that Desigual will emerge stronger from this crisis. The company is undergoing significant changes in its product offerings, brand repositioning, and distribution network, which will lay the foundation for growth in the coming years.

In conclusion, Desigual is facing the challenge of adapting to the difficulties posed by the pandemic and implementing necessary adjustments for its survival and stability. The company is focused on digital development, transforming its products, and repurposing its physical stores. Desigual remains positive about the future and is confident in its ability to overcome the current crisis.

Useful links:
1. Desigual Official Website
2. Desigual CEO on COVID-19 Crisis – Business of Fashion