Flurry of North American retailers announce store closures to combat spread of coronavirus
Mar 16, 2020
As Covid-19 continues to spread, Monday saw a number of North American retailers moving to protect consumers and employees by implementing store closures, including Nordstrom, Guess, Canada Goose, VF Corp, PVH Corp and Ulta Beauty
The Seattle-based department store announced on Monday that it is temporarily closing all of its Nordstrom full-line, Nordstrom Rack, Trunk Club and Jeffrey locations in the U.S. and Canada for two weeks starting March 17.
The company, which will continue to provide pay and benefits for its store employees during the temporary closure of its retail locations, also provided an update on the effect the coronavirus outbreak is having on its business operations.
According to a release, the retailer has seen a "broad-based deceleration in customer demand over the past couple of weeks, particularly in markets most affected by the virus."
In response to the uncertainty of the situation, Nordstrom has committed to making further reductions in its expense and capital expenditure plans and has temporarily suspended share repurchases.
Guess will be expanding the measures currently in place in its stores in a number of European countries and closing all of its retail locations in the U.S. and Canada from March 17 through March 27.
As its stores shut their doors, the retailer has also postponed the release of its collaborative capsule collection with J Balvin, which was set to launch at the end of this month.
Furthermore, in line with guidance from local government and health organizations, the company is encouraging workers in its corporate office to work remotely.
Most of the retailer's stores in China have now reopened after a period of temporary closure.
The iconic Toronto-based outerwear brand has announced the closure of all of its retail stores in North America and Europe from March 17 until at least March 31.
The company will also begin closing its in-house production facilities beginning March 17 and plans to keep them shut for at least the next two weeks.
According to a letter sent to the company's employees, Canada Goose president and CEO Dani Reiss has committed to foregoing his salary for at least the next three months, with the resulting funds being used to establish the Canada Goose Employee Support Fund, intended for employees that are impacted by the measures being taken by the brand but are not eligible for government assistance.
Canada Goose stores in Greater China, as well as the brand's location in Tokyo, are now open for business.
VF Corp, the Denver-based owner of Vans, Timberland, The North Face, and others, has decided to shut all of its owned North American retail locations March 16 through April 5, promising to maintain full pay and benefits for retail employees during the period.
The company has also announced the temporary closure of its corporate and brand offices in North America during the same period and is enabling its office employees to work remotely.
Elsewhere, VF has already closed all of its offices and stores in mainland Europe until further notice, while its UK retail locations are currently operating with reduced hours.
As the infection rate in China continues to slow, the company has now reopened its corporate offices and round 90% of its stores in the country. VF retail locations in South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan are open, although some are operating on reduced hours, and office employees continue to work remotely.
Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger parent company PVH Corp has also shuttered its retail stores in North America from March 17 through March 29, maintaining full pay and benefits for affected employees.
The company has stopped short of fully closing its corporate facilities, but its North American and European offices are currently operating with a minimal number of employees working in business-critical roles, while the majority of associates work remotely.
In the Asia-Pacific region, PVH has reopened a number of its retail locations, albeit with reduced hours, as well as its corporate offices in Greater China. The company’s offices in South Korea and Japan are open as well, although most corporate employees continue to work remotely.
American cosmetics retailer Ulta Beauty hasn’t rolled out nationwide store closures yet, but has temporarily shuttered stores in select locations and reduced the opening hours of stores still in operation.
Having previously announced redoubled hygiene measures and the suspension of its in-store skin, makeup, brow, lash and waxing services, the retailer has also now temporarily discontinued its hair services until March 16, inviting customers with existing appointments to reschedule.
Employees in Ulta’s corporate offices have been asked to work remotely until at least March 27.
Coronavirus store closure round-up
These companies join a growing list of U.S. retailers implementing measures to counteract the spread of Covid-19 in North America and beyond.
Opening Ceremony took to Instagram on Sunday to announce that it would be closing its stores in New York and Los Angeles until March 15, while Lands' End followed suit on the same day, with an announcement that its own U.S.-based stores will be shutting their doors until March 29.
The pair were joined by New Albany, Ohio-based Abercrombie & Fitch, which announced that it would be temporarily shuttering all of its stores outside of the APAC region, including all Hollister locations, until March 28.
Also over the weekend, sports and footwear giant Nike announced that it will be closing all of its stores in the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand by March 27, while fellow athleticwear maker Under Armour has already shuttered its North American locations, saying that they will remain closed for at least two weeks.
Canada’s Lululemon has also shut its North American and European stores until March 27.
San Francisco-based fashion brand Gap has taken a less drastic approach, temporarily closing just over 100 locations in its extensive retail network in the U.S. and Canada, and reducing opening hours at its remaining locations in the region.
Urban Outfitters, on the other hand, has closed all of its stores worldwide until at least March 28, including all locations operated under its namesake banner, and the Anthropologie and Free People brands.
Over in the UK, mass closures are yet to catch on among fashion retailers, but stores and shopping centers have been noticeably emptier over the past week, and the sale process for the iconic Reiss brand has been put on hold until the situation stabilizes.
To date, Covid-19 has infected more than 174,000 people around the world, resulting in over 6,500 deaths.
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