Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many retailers have announced store closures. Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom are among the department store chains to temporarily shutter locations as a precautionary public safety measure.
Several countries including Italy, Spain and France as well as Puerto Rico have ordered all nonessential retailers to close for the time being, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advising public gatherings to be limited to 50 or fewer people. As consumers stay home to avoid contracting the virus, which causes the disease COVID-19, many have turned to online ordering. E-tail giant Amazon has reported increases in the number of shoppers making online purchases, and Chinese e-comm behemoth JD.com recorded a fourfold increase year over year in orders of key household products during the outbreak in China.
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At the same time, consumers may not be in the mood to buy nonessentials, as the financial outlook has grown increasingly tepid. The three major U.S. stock benchmarks on Monday slid by more than 12% each for the first time since Black Monday in 1987. The market turmoil was despite the Federal Reserve on Sunday slashing interest rates to the range of 0% to .25%, an emergency measure that had not been taken since the 2008 financial crisis. And prior to heightened fears surrounding the coronavirus in the U.S., retail sales already declined 0.5% in February, according to a Commerce Department report.
As they seek to draw in shoppers amid unprecedented times, some retailers are offering discounts, such as free shipping or site-wide sales.
Although Nordstrom has shuttered its 380-store fleet for two weeks beginning Tuesday, its site is open for orders and it is touting spring essentials starting at $25. The retailer’s off-price channel, Nordstrom Rack, is offering 20% off its whole site. Additionally, Nordstromrack.com, which usually charges an $8 shipping fee on orders under $100, is offering free shipping on all orders for a limited time.
Macy’s Inc. stores will be shuttered for business across the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s nameplates through March 31. On the Macy’s site, shoppers can take 30% off men’s, women’s, children’s, jewelry and home goods as well as 15% in the beauty department.
Meanwhile, JCPenney, which is operating with limited hours, has a spring sale of up to 50% off. Most Kohl’s locations are currently open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; the company is promoting “buy online” with in-store pickup in one hour or less and it offers free shipping for orders over $75.
Worldwide, as of 3:00 p.m. ET today there have been over 195,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus , which causes the disease COVID-19, and more than 7,900 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the U.S., confirmed infections have climbed to over 5,700, with the death toll surpassing 90.
This story has been updated to reflect Macy’s decision to close stores.
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