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Quebec clothing company sees rise in online shopping amid coronavirus pandemic

Hatley's online sales have spiked in the past few days. Wednesday March 25, 2020.
Hatley's online sales have spiked in the past few days. Wednesday March 25, 2020. Courtesy of Hatley

With the Quebec government having pressed pause on the province by ordering non-essential businesses to shut down to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, Quebecers are turning to online shopping.

Quebec-based clothing company Hatley has seen the effect — it estimates its online sales have increased 10 to 15 per cent in the past couple of days.

“There’s a silver lining in the e-commerce going up but it’s a drop in a bucket,” said co-owner Jeremy Oldland. “It’s a very small part of our business.”

READ MORE: Quebec records 2 more deaths as coronavirus cases jump to 1,339

The company’s online sales represent about 10 per cent of its total sales.

The core of its revenue comes from its wholesale business, with 3,000 accounts across the world, supplying stores such as Indigo, The Bay, Galeries Lafayette in Paris, David Jones in Australia — all closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Hatley has also closed its 30 brick-and-mortar stores across the country, forcing layoffs in the company.

READ MORE: Quebec shutters all non-essential services as coronavirus cases spike to 628

Oldland says his e-commerce department is working from home and the company is now operating its two 40,000-square-foot warehouses with only three people in each.

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“We are following Santé Québec guidelines,” Oldland said.

“When you walk in we have hand sanitizer set up; we try to keep everything as clean as possible.”

The owner says only those who are shipping the orders or receiving the goods remain at work.

“It’s a very small skeleton staff,” said Oldland, who is also working from home.

READ MORE: Montreal police declare state of emergency, 100 officers in quarantine

Oldland says his business is in good financial health and is able to keep operating that way for some time.

“It’s rough. Our plan is to keep going, but every day this crisis continues, it makes it one day harder to reopen,” Oldland told Global News.

He says he is thankful for the opportunity to keep the e-commerce branch of his business open, as it’s become their only source of revenue.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Quebec premier orders closure of all non-essential businesses
Coronavirus outbreak: Quebec premier orders closure of all non-essential businesses
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