Nike Closing Stores in China Amid Spread of Coronavirus

Nike is temporarily closing roughly half of its stores in China due to the coronavirus, the athletic giant announced today.

In the statement, the firm said it is “prioritizing the health and safety of our teammates and partners” and working with local authorities to close the stores as well as operating with reduced hours at the locations that remain open.

Nike added that it is experiencing “lower than planned retail traffic” in the storefronts that are still open and that it expects this to cause a short-term material impact on operations in Greater China.

“First and foremost, our thoughts are with the people affected, and we remain focused on the health and safety of our teammates and partners,” Nike Inc. president and CEO John Donahoe said in a statement. “Despite this difficult situation, Nike’s long-term opportunity to continue to serve consumers in Greater China with inspiration and innovation remains exceedingly strong. At the same time, we continue to have extraordinary brand and business momentum in all other geographies.”

The deadly coronavirus has spread throughout the world, and in its epicenter of China, the outbreak has led to the shutdown of transportation, retail stores and other businesses. The illness struck at a crucial time for the Chinese economy, with the Lunar New Year last Saturday marking a major spending and travel period in the region. Beijing officials have extended the Lunar New Year break, during which Chinese citizens refrain from work, to Feb. 3 in an effort to halt the spread of the virus.

Industry leaders have been keeping a close eye on China in the wake of the outbreak, which was elevated last week to a public health emergency of international concern. Fears over the deadly virus have been wreaking havoc on global markets, impeding travel and creating challenges for companies doing business throughout Asia. On Monday, American Events announced it had suspended the NE Materials Show scheduled for Feb. 5 and Feb. 6 in Boston as well as the NW Materials Show scheduled for Feb. 12 and Feb. 13 in Portland, Ore. Both trade shows were expected to attract scores of attendees from China. The decision, according to the company, was born of fears about the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 17,300 people globally and killed at least 362.

Additional reporting was provided by Samantha McDonald. 

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