Apparel retailer Nordstrom withdrew its fiscal 2020 forecast and said it would close stores in the United States and Canada for two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” said Erik Nordstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Nordstrom, Inc.
To do its part to limit the spread of the virus, the Company will temporarily close its stores, including Nordstrom full-line, Nordstrom Rack, Trunk Club clubhouses and Jeffrey in the U.S. and Canada for two weeks, effective March 17, and provide pay and benefits for its store employees during this period. Nordstrom continues to serve customers through its online business, which made up one-third of sales in 2019. The company remains open and ready to serve customers through its apps and online at Nordstrom.com, Nordstromrack.com, HauteLook.com and TrunkClub.com – including digital styling, online order pickup and curbside services at its full-line stores.
“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.”
The company issued its fiscal 2020 guidance on March 3, 2020, which did not include the impact of COVID-19. Due to heightened uncertainty relating to the impacts of COVID-19 on the company’s business operations, including the duration and impact on overall customer demand, the company is withdrawing its 2020 guidance.
While February sales were in-line with expectations, the company experienced a broad-based deceleration in customer demand over the past couple of weeks, particularly in markets most affected by the virus.
With more than 100 years managing through multiple business cycles, Nordstrom remains flexible and agile in making appropriate adjustments to its operational and capital allocation plans. The Company continues to maintain a strong focus on inventory discipline and expense management and remains committed to executing its savings plan of US$ 200 to US$ 250 million in fiscal 2020.
In light of the current economic uncertainty, Nordstrom is making further reductions to its expense and capital expenditure plans and is currently suspending share repurchases.