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Face Mask Production Saving Retailers Amid Coronavirus

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On May 8, Etsy, Inc. (ETSY - Free Report) said that its sales doubled in April as more consumers shopped online. The sales were primarily driven by online purchases of handmade face masks. While a few categories disappointed Etsy’s sales, face masks gave a boost to its revenues during the coronavirus pandemic.

Face masks, a must for healthcare workers and those affected with the disease, have seen a severe crunch over the past month, with an increasing number of coronavirus cases being reported across the world. Companies worldwide are drifting from their core business to join the fight against the spread of coronavirus. This has seen a number of fashion brands and retailers manufacturing face masks, which has also helped their business soar.

Face Mask Sales Boost Etsy’s Revenues

Etsy, where merchants who primarily deal in handmade products by running an online store, sold around 12 million face masks worth about $133 million in April. Retailers who were marketing their products on Etsy’s site got a boost after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised people to wear masks to protect themselves from COVID-19 in early April.

Etsy sellers began experiencing overwhelming demand, with nearly 20,000 shops on Etsy selling face masks. This also was a big relief for retailers selling face masks, as many have experienced major decline in demand for their other products.  

Face Masks Helping Retailers

Retail sales plunged 8.7% month over month in March, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. However, a number of fashion brands, after being urged by President Donald Trump to join forces to fight COVID-19, took to making masks, and have been gaining.

The Gap, Inc. (GPS - Free Report) , reportedly, is working with its manufacturing partners to explore production of fabric masks and other protective gear for care givers. Gap on May 6 said that it will reopen 800 of its stores by the end of this month but will continue to sell face masks. Shares of Gap have gained 6.5% over the past 30 days. Gap carries a Zacks Rank #3. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

While companies like 3M Company (MMM - Free Report) and Honeywell International, Inc. (HON - Free Report) , which are traditional mask makers, are struggling to keep pace with growing demand, it definitely is a good move by apparel makers to shift to mask manufacturing as their core businesses have come to a standstill.

HanesBrands, Inc. (HBI - Free Report) is one of the apparel makers having a contract with the U.S. government to produce cotton masks. The company is using its apparel design and manufacturing expertise to produce more than 20 million medical gowns to be distributed by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency to hospitals and healthcare facilities.

HanesBrands has already produced and delivered more than 60 million cloth face coverings for the U.S. government and is ahead of schedule to deliver more than 320 million of the washable 3-ply all-cotton face coverings. Shares of HanesBrands have gained 11.4% in the past one month.

Also, Ralph Lauren Corporation (RL - Free Report) is on job to produce 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns that have already met FDA standards. Last month, footwear and apparel brand Under Armour, Inc. said that it plans to manufacture 500,000 fabric masks for healthcare workers associated with the University of Maryland Medical System. Shares of Under Armour have gained 2.6% in the past one month.

With more than 50,000 fashion stores shuttered across states, many brands are not only supplementing for the shortage of protective gear but also looking for a survival strategy by selling facial masks and other protective gear seem to be saving them during this crisis.

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