Retailers around the world are shutting their doors or reducing hours in an attempt to slow the spread of the fast-moving coronavirus, according to reports on Wednesday (March 18).
The closures are intended to promote social distancing — the act of decreasing person-to-person contact in order to slow the spread of the disease. Each infected person is estimated to spread the virus to an average of two or three others.
Macy’s, Sephora, Nordstrom, H&M, DSW, Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret and Ralph Lauren have closed all locations. Apple is keeping all stores closed until further notice.
Abercrombie & Fitch is closing all its stores, including its Hollister brand. Addidas and Nike are closed worldwide. Disney shuttered its resorts and theme parks as well as its retail stores.
Walmart, Target and most restaurants and fast-food chains have reduced their hours and closed dining rooms in favor of drive-thrus, pickup and delivery. Several chains are also setting aside shopping time just for seniors, pregnant women and high-risk groups to shop.
IKEA said it closed all 50 U.S. store locations and its Planning Studio in Manhattan. “Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. This is the most responsible way IKEA can continue to care for our co-workers and our customers in a manner that is healthy and safe,” said Javier Quiñones, IKEA retail U.S. president in a statement.
Two retail associations — the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) — jointly sent a letter to the National Governors Association and U.S. Conference of Mayors asking for more communication between state and local policymakers and retailers.
“The health and safety of employees, customers, and communities is the top priority for leading retailers. Retailers are following recommendations provided by the CDC and share the immediate goal of slowing the spread of the virus,” Retail Industry Leaders Association President Brian Dodge said in a statement.
He added that merchants are always prepared in case of a crisis “so they can serve the critical needs of their customers by quickly and thoughtfully adjusting a wide variety of practices, including those related to their supply chains, stores, and employees. Families are counting on retailers right now and retailers are determined to be there for them.”
Goldman Sachs said Marcus and Apple Card customers can have an additional month to make payments due to the coronavirus and its effect on people’s income. Citigroup is doing the same. Ford, Nissan and Hyundai are also deferring payments on new and existing car loans.