Adidas Moves Annual In-Person Conference Online Amid Coronavirus Worries

Adidas AG is moving its annual press conference online amid escalating concerns over the novel coronavirus.

The German sportswear giant has announced that it would broadcast its in-person event — originally scheduled to be hosted at its headquarters in Herzogenaurach — after it determined that many guests would be unable to attend due to stricter travel guidelines. The webcast-only conference will be held on Wednesday, March 11.

“We would therefore ask you to refrain from traveling to Herzogenaurach and apologize for any inconvenience caused,” the company’s memo added.

As of Friday morning, coronavirus cases around the world have surpassed 100,000, leading to 3,400 deaths. Many companies and organizations are taking precautions to not only alleviate their workers’ concerns but also mitigate the potential impact on their businesses.

This week, big-box chain Target announced the cancellation of its in-person investor day in New York City and hosted the event remotely from its hometown of Minneapolis. Adidas’ rival Nike, on the other hand, temporarily shuttered two of its corporate offices in the United Kingdom — both of which are undergoing deep cleanings as a precautionary measure.

Amid the outbreak, hundreds of companies have updated their risk disclosures, warning of potential revenue and profit hits for the fiscal year due to lower sales stemming from store closures in heavily affected areas. Two weeks ago, Adidas cited a “material negative impact” on its business in China as a result of the coronavirus, which has led the company to shutter a “significant” number of stores as well as see a “pronounced traffic reduction” at the locations that remain open. (Adidas operates about 12,000 stores in China, of which 500 are company owned.)

Investor fears have also heightened as the virus spreads: This morning in the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 400 points, while the S&P 500 lost nearly 50 points and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 130 points, as Wall Street closes in on a turbulent trading week.

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