Fashion: businesses and shops restart

The recovery of the sector in 2021, although not complete, emerges from a survey by the Bank of Italy20 *, which highlights, even as in November 2021 the fashion companies interviewed were positive on the prospects compared to 2022. The survey shows how first nine months of 2021, 70% of industrial companies and, to a lesser extent, 60% of fashion companies (textiles, clothing, leather and footwear) recorded an increase (ranging from + 1.5% to over + 25% ) of turnover compared to the same period of the previous year21.

This data confirms the picture already outlined above of greater difficulty in fashion, compared to other sectors, in fully recovering what was lost with the outbreak of the pandemic. Similarly, almost three out of four companies in the sector expect to close the 2021 financial year with a balance or profit, compared to about 90% of industrial companies in the strict sense. The fallout of this weakness also appears from the fact that only 41% of companies in the sector expect to return to pre-crisis levels of activity by the end of 2021 (72% of industrial companies in the strict sense). Regarding the future prospects despite the continuing problems, the companies in the fashion sector are instead more optimistic: 60%, against half of the sample of industrial companies, expect an increase in turnover in the six months following the survey22 (Fig. 6).

Fashion 2021: the new constitutions are increasing

Through the Fashion Bank database we detected the new establishments relating to the medium-end segment in 2021. In total, 156 new openings were found, against a generally positive trend observed in the first half of 2021 * which is gradually emerging at the end damage. In fact, in the Confindustria Moda * companies there is a recovery in turnover compared to 2020 around + 23%, with a gap still higher than 10% if compared with pre-Covid levels. A recovery in the order of + 20.6% is expected throughout the year. Considering that in 2020 the turnover of fashion textiles and accessories had dropped to 75 billion, the dynamic 2021 will therefore translate into an increase of just over 15 billion euros.

The podium is made up of Sicily in the lead with 20 new openings. Following Lazio with 17 while the lowest step is occupied by Lombardy with 16. At the bottom of the ranking we find Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia with 2. Molise closes the ranking with only 1 new constitution found in entire span of 2021.

In a constantly evolving market context marked by profound and constant uncertainty, tools such as risk monitoring, trade credit protection and market analyzes on the health status of their commercial channels are the ideal solutions for companies that want keep growing.

Legal forms

With regard to the legal forms identified for the new constitutions, we find a prevalence of S.r.l with 125 of the 156 total, non-joint-stock companies amounted to no more than 20%. Despite the contingent figure for 2021, non-capital companies still characterize most of the retail fashion market in Italy, with over 70% of the total.

Degree of risk

A further segmentation of the new constitutions which took place in 2021 was carried out according to the Fashion Bank risk index **

Risk indices

N (not evaluable) brand new constitutions without financial data and without a history deriving from sales, contributions, rentals, corporate transformations, continuity of fact. In the presence of a historian, the new constitutions do not fall into category N, but are evaluated according to the ordinary risk indices.


X (inactive) de facto inactive firms as their stores have ceased, firms inactive by right
D (maximum risk) protested companies, foreclosures, in composition with creditors, companies with claims.
C (high risk) C2: high risk firms, not entrusted, with high probability of default. C1: high risk firms, not contracted, with higher probability of passing to risk B3. Ask for guarantees where possible.
B (low risk) B3: low risk firms but with a higher probability of becoming unreleased, B2: low risk firms in an intermediate situation. B1: Low risk firms with higher probability of switching to A3 risk.

Fashion Bank is able to evaluate 38% of the total of the new constitutions (B1, B2, B3, C1, C2, D, X); this is made possible thanks to a thirty-year monitoring history within its database. Many firms, in fact, turn out to be continuations of old companies and for this reason they will not be categorized as “X”. On the contrary, previous corporate experiences belonging to the owner will be taken into consideration.


* Bank of Italy, Economic survey on industrial and service companies, November 2021. In this survey, the Bank of Italy collects, in terms of quality, the economic trends of Italian industrial and service companies with at least 20 employees.

** The risk is a global assessment index of a company and arises from the analysis of the economic / financial / commercial elements.


Source: SACE Study Center