- A spate of US retailers have announced they will temporarily close their doors for at least the next two weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the US.
- Most of these companies — which range from mall brands like Urban Outfitters to major athletic retailers like Nike — have confirmed they will pay employees for lost shifts during this period.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
In an unprecedented move for US retailers, many are opting to indefinitely shut their doors to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in the US.
Though companies like Walmart have taken steps to reduce hours, several major retailers are electing to fully cease physical store operations as confirmed coronavirus cases in the country continue to rise. On Friday, Glossier and Patagonia both announced that they will close stores, prompting a flood of retailers to follow suit over the weekend, including mall brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and Urban Outfitters and athletic companies like Nike.
In most cases, employees are being compensated for the lost shifts, pointing to how the global pandemic has led to seismic shifts in paid sick leave policies for retail workers on the front lines. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the US, companies like Whole Foods, Starbucks, and Trader Joe’s have all implemented new protections for workers for the first time.
See the full list of retailers who are temporarily closing their doors, below.
Urban Outfitters announced on March 14 it will temporarily close all of its store locations “until further notice,” according to a notice posted on its website. The closures are effective beginning March 15, and employees at the company’s more than 200 stores in the US, Canada, and Europe will be paid for lost shifts.
“As far as we know, none of our employees have tested positive for COVID-19,” the company wrote on its website. “Stores will not reopen until at least March 28 and because the situation is complex and evolving rapidly, our plans may change. And if they do, we’ll let you know.”
Anthropologie — a sister brand of Urban Outfitters and also owned by the parent company URBN — announced on March 14 that it will additionally close its doors through at least March 28. Like Urban Outfitters, all employees will be compensated for missed shifts, according to the company website.
“It is our commitment to keep our Anthro community healthy & safe,” Anthropologie wrote in an Instagram post shared on Saturday. “We’d love for you to help shape our community’s conversation in the days and weeks to come. Please reach out to us and share your thoughts – we’re here for you. Look out for one another, and be well. We’ll see you soon.”
Free People, a fellow URBN company, will join Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie in temporarily shuttering stores through at least the end of the month and will pay employees during this time.
“Please know that, in spite of these current events, we remain dedicated to helping you however we can,” the company wrote on Instagram. “Whether you have questions about a pending order or shipment, where to find a coveted dress, or are simply looking for someone to talk to, we are always here for you.”
Abercrombie & Fitch
In a letter to customers published on March 15, Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Fran Horowitz announced that the company will close all stores outside of the Asia-Pacific region indefinitely.
“It goes without saying that our thoughts are with everyone affected by the global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), and that’s why we’ve decided to close all our stores to help contain the spread,” Horowitz wrote.
Horowitz did not note if store employees will be compensated during the closures, though a spokesperson for Abercrombie & Fitch told Business Insider “all our stores associates will continue to receive pay in alignment with business as usual operations.”
Horowitz did not provide an estimated re-open date, but the e-commerce site is still operating and the company is “maximizing cleaning measures” at distribution centers “to ensure safe product shipping,” she said.
Hollister and Gilly Hicks
Hollister and Gilly Hicks — both brands owned by the Abercrombie & Fitch Corporation — will also temporarily shutter all stores outside of the Asia-Pacific region as part of companywide store closures.
“Our decisions are made in accordance with health organizations and government authorities, and are driven by our brand’s mission to meet you where you are and maintain the safety of our community, as we all look forward to a healthy, confident future together,” Horowitz wrote in the letter to costumers.
In an email sent to shoppers on March 14, Everlane announced it will close its retail locations until March 28 and will compensate its retail team during this period.
“This is a critical moment in the world,” the email states. “With the situation evolving quickly, we must all do our part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. So today, we are taking the next step to protect the safety of our community.”
Everlane’s online store will remain open, and its website includes a note about how it’s protecting employees at factories and distribution centers.
“All factory workers have paid sick leave and are required to stay at home if they are unwell,” Everlane wrote on its website. “Additionally, each factory is ensuring stringent hygiene for the safety of everyone with measures such as setting up sanitizing stations at each workstation and throughout the workplace, temperature checking, and providing education on health and safety.”
Glossier was the first of the US retailers to close up shop, announcing on March 13 that it would halt business at its New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta stores for the next two weeks. In a letter to customers on Friday, CEO and founder Emily Weiss wrote that all employees will be compensated.
“This is a tough call for many reasons,” Weiss wrote. “In our New York City flagship alone, 2,000 people gather daily from around the world, often lining up down the block to connect with Glossier and with one another.”
Patagonia followed suit shortly after Glossier, announcing later that afternoon that it will not only close all its stores but also temporarily stop taking new online orders until at least March 16. Store closures officially began Friday afternoon and will continue through March 27 at the earliest.
“We apologize that over the next two weeks, there will be delays on orders and customer-service requests,” Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario said in a message published on the company’s website. “We ask for your understanding and patience.”
Reformation wrote in an Instagram post on March 14 that it will temporarily close stores and will pay retail employees during this period.
“Guys, by now we are all aware of the severity of COVID-19, and probably exhausted from the anxiety of it all,” the Instagram reads. “To make sure we do whatever we can to help contain the virus, we will be closing all of our stores for now. Our retail teams will be given paid time off. All planned events and factory tours have been canceled as well.”
In an unprecedented move for the tech retailer, Apple announced on March 14 it will close all stores outside of Greater China until at least March 27. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced at the time that the company will also donate $14 million to coronavirus relief efforts.
Nike was one of the latest retailers to announce closings. On March 15, the retail giant said that it will close all stores in the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand through March 27. The closures come two weeks after the athletic company shuttered its corporate headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon and mandated that employees work from home. A Nike spokesperson told CNBC that all staffers will be compensated during this time.
Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald announced in a statement on March 15 that all retail locations — including onsite activities like yoga and guided meditation classes — in North America and Europe will close beginning March 16 through March 27. According to McDonald, all employees will be paid for the hours they were originally scheduled.
“We are living in uncertain times and we’re learning more about this virus every day,” McDonald said in the statement sent to Business Insider. “We are taking this step to help protect our global community, guests and people, and ensure we are doing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Lush Cosmetics owners Karen and Mark Wolverton announced the company is temporarily closing all 258 stores in the US and Canada through March 29. In a letter to consumers shared on March 15, the owners wrote that they will be “ensuring regular pay for all staff during this period.”
“Because our products are all made fresh by hand weekly for our shops, these closures will also require us to significantly scale down our manufacturing and distribution operations for the duration of the shop closures,” they wrote in the letter.
Lush is leaving its online store open, citing the essential nature of continuing to sell soaps and body wash to help fight the coronavirus, but noted there will likely be delays in shipments.
“With the reduced capacity across the business, our digital orders may take extra time to reach you and we appreciate your understanding and patience with our teams during this transition,” the letter reads.
In an email sent to shoppers on March 15, Outdoor Voices announced it is closing stores beginning March 16 through March 27, as well as canceling in-store community events until further notice. All employees will be compensated for their scheduled shifts during the next two weeks and consumers are instructed to check the Outdoor Voices website and social media accounts for “at-home recreation inspiration.”
“Our number one priority, and the foundation of our brand’s mission to get the world moving, is the health and well-being of our community,” the email states. “Endorphin-boosting exercises will be more necessary than ever during these far-from-normal circumstances.”
REI president Eric Artz announced in a statement to the co-op community on March 15 that the company will close all 162 of its retail stores in the US beginning March 16 through March 27. Employees will be paid for lost shifts and REI’s e-commerce site remain open for purchases.
“I believe that is the right thing for our community,” Artz wrote in the letter. “In fact, I believe it is our duty — to do all we can to help keep one another safe in this unprecedented moment.”
He continued: “We’ve always been deliberate and transparent when making significant decisions about our business. This is a difficult decision for any business, and I do not make it lightly. Our decisions are grounded in the belief that there are more important things than business right now—we owe that to one another.”
Under Armour confirmed in a statement sent to Business Insider that it will suspend its physical retail operations in North America through March 28. All employees will receive payments during this period, and the retailer is taking additional steps to ensure the safety of employees throughout the entire company.
“We continue to offer work from home and flexible attendance options and have implemented enhanced cleanliness and sanitation steps in both our corporate offices and distribution centers to further protect our teammates,” the company said in a statement. “We are monitoring the situation globally, and closure decisions are being made on a country-by-country basis as necessary to protect our teammates and customers.”