US Tech Retailers Left With Empty Shelves; Mall Operator Simon Shuts Down

Store Shelves

The coronavirus is closing malls and leading to layoffs at restaurants while boosting laptop sales amid a move to remote work, among other economic impacts. Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus around the world.

Simon Property Group is temporarily shuttering its U.S. properties, with the inclusion of malls, mills and premium outlets, according to an announcement. David Simon, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Simon, said in the announcement, “The health and safety of our shoppers, retailers and employees is of paramount importance and we are taking this step to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.” The move was to take place at 7 p.m. local time on Wednesday (March 18) and conclude on March 29, per the announcement.

And, because of the coronavirus outbreak, the Union Square Hospitality Group has laid off approximately 2,000 members of its workforce, CNBC reported.  The restaurant firm, which is out of New York, closed each one of its eateries Friday until a later time. The National Restaurant Association, for its part, forecasts that 5 million to 7 million restaurant positions will be lost over the three months to come. Eateries throughout the nation are laying off staffers as consumers prepare food in their residences and the outbreak shutters dining rooms.

In other news, an increase in the number of individuals working from their residences due to the coronavirus has led to a rocketing demand for portable computers, The Wall Street Journal reported. The surge occurs as manufacturers are still bouncing back from the COVID-19’s earliest effects in China that impacted production for some manufacturers. HP Inc., in one case, said per the report that “factories are steadily coming online.” One consumer, as noted in the report, went searching for a new laptop and his first, second and third choices were out of stock.

On another note, Inditex has shuttered 3,785 locations across just under 40 nations for the time being due to the coronavirus and is writing off almost €300 million of inventory, The Financial Times reported. Its sales had plunged 24.1 percent from March 1 to March 16. Inditex Executive Chairman Pablo Isla said, in part, per the report, “Thanks to the company’s strong financial position and principles, we stand ready to respond in any way necessary.” The company’s eCommerce sales are ongoing, per the report.

And, as it grapples with demand from consumers aiming to build a cache of food, Ocado Group Plc has shuttered its website temporarily, Bloomberg reported. Ocado Retail Chief Executive Officer Melanie Smith said in a statement per the report that the shutdown will let the firm “complete essential work that will help to make sure distribution of products and delivery slots is as fair and as accessible as possible.” The British eCommerce supermarket company said it would be closed up to Saturday as it aims to handle a “simply staggering amount of traffic to our website right now and more demand for products and deliveries than we can meet.”



New PYMNTS Report: Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook – July 2020 

Call it the great tug-of-war. Fraudsters are teaming up to form elaborate rings that work in sync to launch account takeovers. Chris Tremont, EVP at Radius Bank, tells PYMNTS that financial institutions (FIs) can beat such highly organized fraudsters at their own game. In the July 2020 Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook, Tremont lays out how.