walmart empty shelf covid-18

The coronavirus shutdown has brought business to a near standstill and hit most fashion and retail companies hard — a corporate crisis that mirrors the health crisis hitting the world. 

But even if “sell” seems to be the only word stock investors know — the market fell again Monday as Washington struggled to come up with a better-than-$1 trillion stimulus package — there are some companies feeling the pain less. 

At the top of the list are the online and off-line giants Walmart Inc. and Amazon.com, each of which has the magic combination of scale, distribution might and a broad range of goods, including vitals such as food and cleaning products.  

Since Feb. 12, the day Wall Street hit its all-time and now all-too-pie-in-the-sky high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen a mind-bending 37.1 percent, dropping 582.05, or 3 percent, to 18,591.93 on Monday alone.

But Walmart has held its ground, dipping just 0.9 percent to $114.28 since the market high as it shifted into a disaster footing, opening up its parking lots as potential drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites. 

Fairing nearly as well is Amazon, which is down 11.9 percent to $1,902.83, as it has become a vital e-commerce link for a country of consumers working from home.

All together, Walmart and Amazon are looking to hire 250,000 workers now as they bulk up — and just as other retailers focused on discretionary categories are looking massive layoffs. H&M, which has temporarily closed 3,441 of its 5,062 stores globally, is looking at layoffs and said the number could be in the tens of thousands. Other fashion companies are no doubt looking at their closed stores, operating costs and coming to similar conclusions. 

Also avoiding the worst of the stock market sell off is the luxury crowd, which is no doubt feeling the pain, but sheltered to some extent by their ultra-rich clientele. Hermès International was right behind Amazon, with a drop of just 14.7 percent since mid-February to 603.4 euros. 

But since COVID-19 switched from being a distant fear that couldn’t keep the market from a new high to a clear and present danger, most mainline fashion retailers and the companies that supply them have been hit hard. G-III Apparel Group, which owns Donna Karan and makes for Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, is down 78.5 percent to $6, followed closely by Macy’s Inc., Capri Holdings, Kohl’s Corp., PVH Corp. and Gap Inc.

Taking Stock

Shares of basics companies and the ultra luxe players have held up best in the stock market, which hit its all-time high on just Feb. 12, but has been hit hard by the COVID-19 business shock.

Close on Monday Decline Since Feb. 12 Market High
Walmart Inc. $114.28 -0.9%
Amazon Inc. $1,902.83 -11.9%
Hermès International 603.4 euros -14.7%
Target Corp. $96.69 -17.7%
Procter & Gamble Co. $97.70 -20.9%
Tod’s SpA 29.06 euros -21.2%
Salvatore Ferragamo SpA 12.81 euros -23.9%
LVMH 311.4 euros -26.7%
Brunello Cucinelli 23.8 euros -30.0%
Kering SA 405.95 euros -32.1%
Lululemon Athletica Inc. $172.30 -32.1%
Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. $144.38 -32.6%
Dow Jones Industrial Average 18,591.93 -37.1%
Hanesbrands Inc. $8.98 -38.6%
Nike Inc. $62.80 -38.9%
TJX Cos. Inc. $36.76 -41.9%
Farfetch $7.35 -42.1%
VF Corp. $45.99 -44.9%
J.C. Penney Co. Inc. $0.40 -45.9%
Burberry Group plc 10.85 pounds -46.8%
Ralph Lauren Corp. $65.40 -47.1%
Coty Inc. $5.15 -55.9%
Chico’s FAS Inc. $1.73 -58.4%
Simon Property Group Inc. $50.16 -63.4%
Tapestry Inc. $10.58 -63.6%
Ascena Retail Group Inc. $1.59 -65.0%
RealReal Inc. $5.46 -65.1%
Gap Inc. $6.28 -66.0%
PVH Corp. $29.05 -67.6%
Kohl’s Corp. $13.09 -70.1%
Capri Holdings Ltd. $9.22 -70.1%
Macy’s Inc. $4.81 -70.5%
G-III Apparel Group $6.00 -78.5%
Source: Google Finance, Yahoo Finance

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