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Nordstrom, Macy's temporarily close stores

Two of the nation's premier department store retailers have closed their doors amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Nordstrom Inc. expressed confidence in its ability to weather “this challenging moment in time” as it announced the closure of its U.S. and Canadian stores for two weeks to help limit the spread of COVID-19.  The move affects the company’s 380 stores, including 116 full-line stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico; 248 Nordstrom Rack stores; three Jeffrey boutiques; two clearance stores; six Trunk Club clubhouses; and five Nordstrom Local service hubs. Nordstrom’s e-commerce operations, which made up about a third of its 2019 sales, will remain open for business. 

Citing “heightened uncertainty relating to the impacts of COVID-19 on the company’s business operations,” including the duration and impact on overall customer demand, Nordstrom said it is withdrawing its 2020 guidance, which it issued on March 3. The retailer said that while February sales were in-line with expectations, it experienced a broad-based deceleration in customer demand during the past couple of weeks, particularly in markets most affected by the virus. 

In addition, Nordstrom is making further reductions to its expense and capital expenditure plans. It also is currently suspending share repurchases.

“During this unprecedented period of uncertainty, we have in place the appropriate business continuity plans, operational framework and team,” said Erik Nordstrom. “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.” 

Macy’s Inc. has closed  all its stores by through March 31, including all Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Bluemercury, Macy’s Backstage, Bloomingdales the Outlet and Market by Macy’s stores.  The retailer said it will provide benefits and compensation to its impacted workforce.   Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury will continue to serve customers through, and and through its mobile apps.

"We will work with government and health officials to assess when we will reopen our stores and safely bring our colleagues back to work,” said Jeff Gennette, chairman and CEO, Macy’s, Inc. “During this closure, we will continue to serve our customers through our e-commerce sites.”

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