Shoe Carnival Is Shuttering All Stores as Coronavirus Concerns Take Hold

Shoe Carnival Inc. has followed in the footsteps of many retailers that have announced store closures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

According to a statement on Thursday, the Evansville, Ind.-based company made the decision to temporarily shutter its stores across the United States and in Puerto Rico until April 2. During that period, the company said, it will continue to pay store associates.

Consumers will still be able to shop on Shoe Carnival’s website as well as its mobile app.

“The health and safety of our employees, our customers and the communities we serve is our primary concern,” CEO and Vice Chairman Cliff Sifford said. “While the decision to close our stores was not made lightly, we believe ensuring the well-being of our teams and doing our part to minimize the spread of this deadly virus is the right one.”

In the release, Sifford reiterated Shoe Carnival’s “strong” balance sheet, which includes a $50 million credit facility, as well as its longstanding relationship with vendors — both of which he said provides the company with “sufficient flexibility to meet the needs of our stakeholders” during a national health crisis that has sickened more than 13,000 people and killed at least 195 in the U.S.

Shoe Carnival is expected to release fourth-quarter and full-year 2019 earnings results after the market closes on March 25. However, the retailer said it would not be releasing its guidance for the next fiscal year due to uncertainties about how much the outbreak might impact its business.

Several fashion and footwear businesses — including Caleres Inc., Genesco Inc. and Steven Madden Ltd. — have also opted to withhold or pull their guidance, which has traditionally been viewed as an important data set for investors, market watchers, other key decision-makers and companies themselves.

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