CHICAGO (CBS) — The coronavirus pandemic has changed every part of our lives – from the big, important things like trips and weddings, to something as simple as the salad you order for lunch.
As CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra reported Wednesday night, you may have noticed some of the brands you like aren’t offering as many options as they did pre-COVID.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Showers By Daybreak
Martina Fanella knows the adage – if you find clothing you like, buy it in every color. The dress the Streamwood woman was wearing when we talked with her – and by her own estimation about 90 percent of the dress clothes she wears to work – come from LOFT.
LOFT was the Streamwood’s woman’s go-to for its plus-size collection that she loved. But she and other shoppers noticed it was getting a little harder to find.
In March, a shopper asked the brand on Facebook – where are the clothes? LOFT responded, saying the past year brought numerous business challenges and impacted its sizing, so the line is canceled come fall.
“Considering that there’s a large market share of plus-sized women out there, and you’re just going to pull the plug without telling anybody; without saying anything – and you just dropped it nonchalantly in a Facebook comment,” Fanella said.
LOFT is one example of many.READ MORE: Oak Lawn Woman Got Locked Out Of Her Facebook Business Account, And Even Facebook Can't Be Sure If The Email To Blame Was A Scam
“There was a lot of upheaval across the board,” said Tanya Triche Dawood of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.
Dawood confirms we’re seeing brands reconsider their offerings and real estate because of the pandemic. For one, the Gap had huge losses, and closed its flagship Michigan Avenue store in January.
And if you’ve been to McDonald’s or Taco Bell and noticed salads, nachos, or other things missing from the menu, it’s because they’re gone. Both brands called removing the items, “simplifying” their operations.
“There were a number of brands that were looking at getting smaller pre-COVID,” Dawood said. “What COVID did was hasten the speed.”
The association said in the last year, small businesses faced the challenges of getting online, big business had to figure out curbside pickup and delivery, and all businesses took financial hits. Thus, it is not surprising we’re seeing these changes now, and this might not be the end it.
That means more of us could deal with Fanella’s reality – going from loyal customer to feeling lost.MORE NEWS: They Had A Tough Year Of E-Learning, But Southland College Prep Seniors Have Now Racked Up More Than $50 Million In Combined Merit Scholarships
“If you’re a retailer this day and age and especially with COVID and everything that’s happened, you want to take every customer and you want to keep them,” Fanella said. “I don’t know that they’re doing that with this.”