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Department stores join specialty stores in temporary closures as coronavirus spreads

Department stores Boscov’s, Macy’s and Nordstrom, all of which have stores in the Baltimore region, joined a growing list of national specialty stores in shutting their doors to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

Boscov’s said Wednesday it will close all 49 stores for the rest of the month “for everyone’s safety.”

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“We are doing this because we believe it is the most effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19, and we urge all business and individuals to follow the best advice of the medical community and be part of the solution,” said Jim Boscov, the Pennsylvania-based retailer’s chairman and CEO, in a letter to customers. “This pandemic will challenge us all. Difficult decisions have been made, but I’m confident... we will successfully navigate this crisis."

Also on Wednesday, jewelry maker Pandora said it would close its U.S. stores for two weeks and encouraged its franchisees to do the same. Pandora, based in Denmark but with its U.S. headquarters in Baltimore, said its manufacturing plants in Thailand have not been affected.

Dick’s Sporting Goods reversed course from previous plans to stay open and said Wednesday it too would temporarily close all stores, until April 2, while offering curbside pickup and paying employees.

Hanover-based DTLR Villa announced a temporary chainwide shutdown Tuesday, while Baltimore-based Under Armour and Nike had made similar announcements over the weekend.

More than 60 U.S. retailers have reportedly made decisions in recent days to voluntarily close stores, joining schools, universities, restaurants and an array of public places as Americans are urged to stay home if possible. Most retailers are hoping consumers will buy online instead and directed shoppers to their websites.

The “health and safety of our employees and customers is our top priority," said DTLR Villa CEO Glenn Gaynor and co-CEO Scott Collins in a statement as the clothing and shoe retailer said it would close all stores and its corporate office through March 31.

Macy’s is closing its 775 stores, which include Bloomingdale’s, also through March 31 and said it will offer compensation and benefits to its workers.

“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 of New York-based Macy’s.

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Nordstrom said Monday that it hoped to do its part to limit the spread of the virus by closing Nordstrom full-line, Nordstrom Rack and other brands in the U.S. and Canada for two weeks starting Tuesday and providing pay and benefits for employees. Nordstrom, which operates 380 stores in 40 states, said its online business accounted for a third of sales last year.

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

Under Armour closed all 188 of its North American stores Monday, through March 28, and said it would continue to pay its store employees.

“We are monitoring the situation globally, and closure decisions are being made on a country-by-country basis as necessary to protect our teammates and customers,” Tara M. Moore, Under Armour’s director of global communications, said in a statement Sunday.

The Baltimore-based athletic apparel brand added that it will continue to observe work-from-home and flexible attendance policies while stepping up sanitary measures in its corporate offices and distribution centers in the Baltimore region and around the world.

Nike, Apple and Lululemon also had announced closures. Apple closed all stores outside China until further notice.

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Other specialty and mall-based stores that have announced temporary closures include Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Anthropologie, Bath & Body Works, Chico’s, Disney Store, DSW and Foot Locker.

PVH Corp., the parent company of Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen, Izod and Speedo, will close all stores in North America and Europe through March 29. Many of the company-operated stores across the Asia Pacific region have reopened, the company said in an announcement.

Arhaus, a furniture and decor retailer, said Wednesday it will close stores starting Thursday but would have design teams are available for video and phone consultations private viewings by appointment at select stores.

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