Nordstrom Is Closing All Stores in US and Canada for Two Weeks Amid Coronavirus Acceleration

Nordstrom is closing all of its 380 stores for two weeks in an effort to help limit the spread of coronavirus.

The Seattle-based retailer will continue to pay store employees during the period and provide them with full benefits.

“The health and safety of our customers and employees remain our top priority as we continue to make decisions during this rapidly evolving situation. We’re taking decisive actions across the business to help protect employees, customers and others in the communities we serve,” Erik Nordstrom, CEO of Nordstrom Inc., said in a statement.

The announcement came a few hours after Saks Fifth Avenue said it would close its Manhattan and Philadelphia units for two weeks.

Nordstrom’s move includes all full-line stores as well as Nordstrom Rack, Trunk Club clubhouses and Jeffrey units.

The department store noted that it will continue to serve customers through its online business, which accounted for a third of sales in 2019. Its digital banners include Nordstrom.com, Nordstromrack.com, HauteLook.com and TrunkClub.com.

“During this unprecedented period of uncertainty, we have in place the appropriate business continuity plans, operational framework and team,” said Erik Nordstrom in the statement. “This, in concert with ending 2019 with a solid financial position and healthy balance sheet, gives us the ability to weather this challenging moment in time.”

The company withdrew earlier 2020 guidance, which it issued on March 3. That forecast did not include the coronavirus impact.

While February sales met expectations, Nordstrom said the company experienced a broad-based decline in demand over the past couple of weeks, particularly in markets most affected by the virus.

Nordstrom noted it is focusing on inventory and expense management and is “committed” to executing its savings plan of $200 million–$250 million in fiscal 2020.

The retailer said it is making further reductions to its expense and capital expenditure plans and is currently suspending share repurchases.

During the past few days, a number of major brands and retailers — from Gap to Nike to Steve Madden — have announced that they will temporarily shut their doors as the coronavirus crisis dramatically impacts fashion and retail businesses.

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