The end of certainty

It was as if each of them was simply trying to come to terms with the change to the human condition as much as they were trying to navigate the immediate future of their businesses.

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A Message from the Publisher,

From today, the focus and tone of our coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the crisis that the outbreak has prompted in the aviation, tourism and travel retail sectors, shifts.

The outbreak is simply moving so fast, the crisis deepening so alarmingly, that it is impossible to give adequate space to the key sector and medical developments each day. This crisis is swamping our sector and many of the businesses within it.

Analysis globally suggests that retail, hospitality and travel are the sectors with most businesses at risk of going into liquidation, as consumers choose or are forced to stay away. Our industry combines all those sectors, and both those dynamics, in one.

All companies in our industry, from giant Korean conglomerates to family-run concerns, from airports to retailers to brand houses, face distressing financial and human pressures amid this crisis. I write not just as a commentator; for as a pure play travel retail enterprise we are among those companies.

As revenue dries up with frightening speed, costs need to be slashed to aid, though not guarantee, company survival. Costs often equate to people, and all around the travel retail and aviation community, business leaders are having to make unpalatable employment decisions and managers and staff having no choice but to accept them.

Cash flow is a dilemma for many. Prudent cost management and cash reserves are keys to weathering the storm – but for how long?

Martin Moodie: The greatest industry challenge of all

Travel retail has faced many great moments of adversity. We talk often, and rightly, about the sector’s historic resilience to – and ability to bounce back from – crises caused by geo-political events. Due to a combination of COVID-19’s geographic spread, its ferocious advance and its direct sector impact, this pandemic, for so long a China-related crisis and now a global one, is the greatest industry challenge of all.

From now, then, our coverage becomes less a blow by blow development of how COVID-19 is impacting our sector – there are simply too many blows to keep up – and more a regular analysis of how our world stands. Commentary becomes more important than news: where are the green shoots of recovery? What are the prospects for and likely speed of recovery? The lessons from crisis – and there are many already becoming obvious, none more so than the giant fault line that runs through the airport concession model – can wait. This is now all about making it through the storm.

– Martin Moodie, Founder & Chairman, The Moodie Davitt Report, 15 March 2020