The global fashion industry was among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, facing major disruptions on an unprecedented scale. On the retail side, challenges included store closures as part of government lockdown measures, as well as sudden shifts in market demand since many consumers were largely confined to their homes and facing economic uncertainty amid a deepening recession. On the supply side, complex and vulnerable global value chains proved to be ill-prepared for factory closures, prolonged shipping delays and reduced labor capacity due to lockdown measures, as well as sudden order cancellations due to a halt in customer demand. While these supply and demand shocks were triggered by the events of the global pandemic, they came on the back of a laundry-list of sustainability issues for which the fashion industry had since long been widely criticized, such as the environmental impact of textile waste and exploitative labor conditions for workers at the bottom of the value chain. A global leader in apparel, PVH Corp. (hereafter referred to as PVH) – parent company of iconic fashion brands Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein – found itself in the same boat as many players in the fashion industry. PVH suffered significant declines in revenue and earnings, and was forced to make difficult decisions, including permanent store closures as well as substantial lay-offs and furloughs. Stefan Larsson, the president of PVH, who would succeed Emanuel Chirico as CEO in early 2021, had major strategic issues to address, not only to get the company through the COVID-19 crisis but to future-proof it in a challenging post-pandemic world.
• Analyze how the COVID-19 pandemic, in conjunction with the ongoing digital disruption, has changed the fashion industry.
• Understand the relationships between companies like PVH and multiple stakeholders, including consumers, suppliers, workers, governments, and shareholders, and how they affect strategy.
• Explore the link between sustainability in business to long-term company growth, resilience, and futureproofing.
• Develop strategies for companies like PVH that integrate the interests of multiple stakeholders into the business model, balancing social and environmental responsibility with a focus on profitability and shareholder value.
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