H&M is the latest retailer to temporarily shutter outposts due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The fast-fashion giant announced on Tuesday the closure of all U.S. and Canada stores from March 17 through April 2 due to “the unprecedented and ever-changing nature of the situation.” The company said employees impacted by the shuttering will receive two weeks of continued pay. HM.com will continue to take orders.
“H&M’s top priority is maintaining the health and safety of all its colleagues and customers,” the brand said in a statement. “We have been diligently following the latest recommendations made by local governments and the relevant health authorities and have been agile.”
H&M has more than 5,000 stores in 74 markets. As of 2019, the company operated nearly 600 stores in the United States.
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Over the last couple of weeks, H&M says it has implemented staggered work schedules, reduced hours and other safety and cleaning steps to help keep workers and shoppers safe amid the spread of the coronavirus. The company has also extended its return policy.
Across the fashion and footwear industries, retailers have announced store closures in recent days amid growing fears about the coronavirus in the U.S. Companies including Nordstrom, Nike and Steve Madden have temporarily shuttered doors and have pledged to fully compensate employees during this time.
As of today, the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, has infected more than 195,000 people globally and some 7,900 have died. In the U.S., confirmed cases have climbed to over 5,700, with the death toll surpassing 90.
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