Coronavirus

Retailers Shutter Brick-And-Mortar Stores As Foot Traffic Sinks

Macy's, Bloomingdales and others have closed their doors for now.

Large department stores such as Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have shut down their New York City locations to avoid the large congregations of people usually inside their massive spaces spreading the deadly coronavirus.

Other stores that have chosen to scale back activity at their flagship NYC locations include Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. Several of those retailers also chose to close down some other stores, too.

The stores expect to stay shuttered for tentatively the next two weeks — although around the U.S., the length of shutdowns of various parts of life — such as school closures — have been extended through a whole month from now.

New York City confirmed its first case of coronavirus on March 1. This week, with a rapid spreading of the disease, Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered all schools, restaurants and bars to close in an attempt to proactively prevent even more cases. Many states have also ordered non-essential stores, such as the aforementioned department stores, to close their doors as well.

New York City’s department stores are known for being lavish: Saks Fifth Avenue was finishing a $250 million renovation, and Bloomingdale’s renovated several departments lately. Macy’s flagship, renowned worldwide as a tourist destination, may be the biggest of them all.

Stores specializing in beauty products, such as Sephora, Ulta Beauty and Benefit, have also taken proactive measures and shut their doors for the time being.

Beauty product retailers will face different challenges than some. While they’ll be able to sell products online, the closures of physical stores will reduce trademark services like tester stations, advice from attendants in person, and makeovers given as an extra perk. The fact that many will now work from home for the time being will also affect the retailers’ bottom lines.

Ulta Beauty will be closing all of its 1,254 stores at least through March 31 and said store pickups for online orders would also not be available.

Sephora will close all of its U.S. and Canada locations through April 3. The company announced it would be providing waivers on shipping fees and extending return policies to 60 days to accommodate the changes.

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