Store Closures in North America Begin as Coronavirus Spreads

Published on March 14, 2020

The list now includes Urban Outfitters, Patagonia, Everlane, Abercrombie, Glossier, Nike, Allbirds and Apple. Others have announced limited store hours.

Retailers started to close shops Stateside over the weekend as the coronavirus makes its way around the globe.

The list of retailers temporarily closing stores or offering limited hours in North America keeps growing and now includes names like Urban Outfitters, Patagonia, Everlane, Lululemon, Apple, Glossier, Allbirds, Reformation, Buck Mason, Vuori Clothing, Abercrombie & Fitch, Walmart, Nike, Warby Parker, Lush Cosmetics and all three brands under the Tapestry umbrella.

On Saturday, Urban Outfitters said it was closing all stores worldwide. That includes stores in the Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain and bridal brand BHLDN divisions, in addition to the nameplate brand. (Urban Outfitters also operates subscription rental service Nuuly and a food and beverage business.)

“As far as we know, none of our employees have tested positive for COVID-19,” said a company statement. “In an effort to protect our communities, we have decided to close all of our stores around the globe. Stores will not reopen until at least March 28. We will continue to pay our store teams during this time. We will continue to operate our e-commerce and subscription businesses.”

In addition, the company’s corporate team will work from home. Those whose jobs do not allow them to work remotely will be divided into shifts “to reduce density at our corporate offices and create social distance,” the company said. “Because the situation is complex and evolving rapidly, our plans may change.”

In fact, it was only three days earlier that Urban Outfitters said in a statement that store traffic had significantly declined in Urban Outfitters’ Seattle and Milan stores, as well as “a few additional locations” in the last week. But the company gave no indication of store closures at that time.

“Due to the uncertainty around the spread of COVID-19 in North America and Europe, at this time, we cannot forecast the extent to which COVID-19 will impact our business in the first quarter,” the company said at the time.

Apple also released a statement this week saying that the company would close all stores outside of China until March 27. Stores in mainland China — which closed in February because of the coronavirus outbreak — have reopened and the supply chain in that part of the world has been restored, according to a statement from Apple’s chief executive officer Tim Cook.

“What we’ve learned together has helped us all develop the best practices that are assisting enormously in our global response,” Cook said. “One of those lessons is that the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance. As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we’re taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers.”

Apple said employees who cannot work remotely will continue to be paid in line with their normal hours. The company has also expanded its leave policy.

Men and women’s apparel retailer Everlane said Saturday that it would be closing all stores until March 28, effective Sunday, March 15. The online store will remain open and the retail associates will be compensated, according to the company.

Also this week, Rose Marcario, ceo and president of Patagonia, posted a note on the retailer’s web site saying that all company stores, offices and other operations, including