Amid signs that the coronavirus outbreak is beginning to be curbed in China, at least outside of the epicentre of Hubei province, there are encouraging signs that the country’s luxury and fashion shopping sector is slowly recovering.

After a disastrous few months, in which store traffic dropped by as much as 80% at the outbreak’s peak, consumers are starting to emerge from self-isolation and several fashion brands are reopening their stores, Bloomberg reported.

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, for example, the world’s largest jeweller by sales, said 85% of its more than 3,600 stores in China reopened for business this week, while French luxury goods firm Hermes has reopened nine of its 11 outlets in mainland China.

China’s National Health Commission officially announced on Thursday that the country had passed the peak of the coronavirus outbreak and that the number of new cases was declining.

According to the state-backed Xinhua news agency, new confirmed cases in the city of Wuhan had fallen to a single digit, with only eight cases reported on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, there were no new cases reported in Hubei province’s other cities for about a week, and only seven new cases were reported outside Hubei, with six of them coming from overseas.

This is expected to lead to further easing of travel restrictions, which luxury market analyst Amrita Banta said is likely to prompt “revenge spending” sprees by consumers who have had to put off shopping trips for weeks on end.

“China seems to have turned the corner and bigger cities are showing cautious optimism. We see a slow but definite bounce back,” she said.

“We see a slow improvement in the business in China,” added Micaela Le Divelec Lemmi, CEO of Salvatore Ferragamo, the Italian luxury goods firm.

“On top of the traffic, the mood of the Chinese customers will also be relevant,” she continued. “After a month and a half of closures and restrictions, there is a will to come back and have a real life.”

Sourced from Bloomberg, Xinhua; additional content by WARC staff