The Via Montenapoleone tony shopping thoroughfare.

MILAN — Italian fashion and accessories brands are asking their landlords for a commercial rent freeze during the country’s lockdown.

On Tuesday, Claudio Marenzi, president of Confindustria Moda — the association representing 66,000 Made in Italy textile, fashion and accessories companies generating total revenues of 95.5 billion euros and employing 580,000 people — wrote a letter directed to commercial landlords.

In the letter, which was signed by 50 brands — including Casadei, Corneliani, F.lli Rossetti, Calzedonia, Herno, Moncler, Roberto Cavalli, Salvatore Ferragamo, Trussardi and Valentino, among others — Marenzi asked the landlords of the fashion companies’ stores to “suspend payments of rental fees until stores will reopen and to be open to renegotiate the economic conditions of rental contracts until the normal commercial, touristic and residential fluxes will be fully recovered.”

The retail industry is being dramatically hit by the coronavirus epidemic in Italy, which led the country’s government to release a decree on March 11 imposing the shutdown of all nonessential commercial activities until April 3.

“Our concern, unfortunately realistic and supported by daily updates and news, is that the reopening will be further postponed and that consequently the companies we represent will continue to not generate incomes, while continuing to pay rental fees,” Marenzi wrote. “In these circumstances, rental fees of stores and points of sale have become excessively expensive and not sustainable for the companies.”

The impact of the health crisis is getting even more severe for Italian fashion and accessories companies, which from Wednesday will be forced by the government to shut down their manufacturing activities.

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