Genesco Inc. has begun reopening its stores as an increasing number of state and local officials give the green light for retailers to resume business amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Nashville-based company announced that its Journeys brand has already been operating in more than 300 locations since May 1, and it expects to open back up a total of 400 outposts by the end of the month. Its Johnston & Murphy units, on the other hand, kicks off the initial phase of reopenings, starting with 30 chains this week and up to an additional 40 next week, with “a more aggressive schedule” to follow. (Genesco also shared expectations for more reopenings in June.)
Its Schuh stores, on the other hand, remain closed to the public, as the specialty retailer awaits further direction from governmental leaders before setting a timetable to restart those operations.
“While we have been pleased with the sales we are experiencing through our e-commerce platforms, we are very excited to once again serve our customers through our stores,” president and CEO Mimi Vaughn said in a statement. “Our teams have spent countless hours meticulously preparing for the reopening of our stores in the right way with safety and health as our highest priority.”
As part of its phased approach, Genesco said it would only reopen stores if three criteria are met: first, that state and local governments lift their restrictions on nonessential businesses; second, that it believes it can operate safely under new precautionary measures; and third, that it can ensure the wellbeing of its employees and customers.
All of its opened locations are equipped with hand-sanitizing stations and it has required that employees wear masks, Genesco said. Enhanced cleaning protocols have also been put in place at its outposts, where floor layouts have also been reconfigured to promote social distancing and limit human-to-human interactions, including between store associates and shoppers.
In mid-March, Genesco temporarily shuttered nearly 1,500 stores in North America and the United Kingdom to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. A month later, it made the decision to furlough employees and cut staff at its corporate headquarters, call centers and distribution centers in a bid to improve liquidity.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect that Genesco will have reopened a total of 400 Journeys stores by the end of May. An earlier version incorrectly indicated 700 total Journeys stores would open by the end of May.