Retail across the country is starting to reopen, however outdoor standout Patagonia is reportedly taking a slower approach to letting people back in its 39 stores.
According to a New York Times report today, Patagonia doesn’t plan on opening its physical stores for in-store shopping until June. The story also stated the company could wait until the fall or early winter, and even with the wait, the reopening could consist of just curbside pickup. (Patagonia will reportedly offer curbside pickup at 10 stores starting May 20.)
“We’re going to be cautious about the way we open up — we’re not going to necessarily follow what the state decrees are,” Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario told NYT.
That cautiousness could potentially include, the report stated, mobile checkout devices and shopping by appointment to control lines and the amount of shoppers in store at a given time.
Retailers that carry Patagonia, such as REI, have announced reopening plans recently, which are slated to take place before June. Yesterday, REI Co-op president and CEO Eric Artz stated in a letter to consumers that its brick-and-mortar reopening will start this week. In some instances, this will consist of curbside service for online orders. In others, REI will allow a limited number of customers inside with an abbreviated schedule.
Although doors on its 39 stores have been closed for months, the NYT report stated Patagonia started accepting online orders again. To offset the losses in sales, the story revealed Patagonia executives have taken pay cuts and will furlough workers, which includes 80 percent of its retail staff, for 90 days (while keeping their health benefits).
Furloughs have been common within the outdoor and athletic markets amid this period of economic uncertainty. REI, for instance, announced an unpaid 90-day furlough of the majority of its retail and field employees on April 7, and athletic players Under Armour and New Balance announced similar moves on April 3 and April 9, respectively.
The Patagonia staff looks vastly different today than it has in the past. According to the report, Patagonia employees shipping from stores are operating under “squad scheduling,” which consists of teams who work together consistently and will be isolated as a team if one worker gets sick. Also, its Nevada distribution center in is running with half of its regular staff, who are all wearing gloves and face coverings in the regularly-disinfected facility, employees were asked to bring lunch in individual coolers.
As for the future, Marcario told NYT that she believes people will shop more via e-commerce and that “the return to walk-in retail will be slow.”
An email request to Patagonia for comment was not returned by time of publication.