THE NEUTRAL ZONE
As COVID-19 cases increased over the past week, companies are facing a crucial business decision point regarding keeping stores open. The government has stated that there will not be a second shutdown of the economy, so it is now in the hands of the retailers to decide what is best for their respective brands.
On June 26, Microsoft announced the closure of nearly all of its Micorosft Store locations worldwide, with only central hub stores remaining open. As part of a “new approach to retail,” the company will “continue to invest in digital innovation across software and hardware. Microsoft Store Corporate Vice President David Porter stated, “Our retail team members will continue to serve customers working from Microsoft corporate facilities remotely and we will continue to develop our diverse team in support of the overall company mission and objectives.” Other companies have been left with no choice but to close, such as GNC, which recently filed for Chapter 11 and is closing down 248 stores.
Unlike Microsoft, Apple is optimistic that conditions will improve over time. Though they just announced the closure of stores in Florida, North and South Carolina, and Arizona, those closures are considered temporary.
These two separate decisions from Fortune 25 companies have created an instrumental question for other businesses regarding keeping a storefront operational or transitioning to purely online services. Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and HomeGoods have decided to stay open and customers are “flooding in.”
Apple will re-close 14 stores in Florida because of rising Covid-19 rates, bringing total re-closings to 32 – CNBC – 6/25/2020 An Apple representative said in a statement: “Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas. We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible.”
H&M speeds up store closings in 2020 and shifts focus to online shopping – Business Insider – 6/26/2020 H&M is ramping up the pace of store closings in 2020 as it shifts focus to its online business to reflect changing consumer shopping habits in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Microsoft is closing all of its stores – CNN – 6/26/2020 The tech giant opened a bunch of locations in high-profile areas, such as Manhattan’s Fifth Ave. But during the pandemic, many of its stores have remained closed, and Microsoft is abandoning ship.
Detroit casinos prep for re-opening with safety protocols – mlive – 6/26/2020 The teased date of Michigan’s move to phase 5 of reopening amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is coming up next week, and that could mean the reopening of Detroit casinos.
Miami Herald on Twitter 6/26/20: BREAKING: Apple closing all South Florida stores again due to rising Florida coronavirus cases
Brian Entin on Twitter 6/26/20: Because of COVID-19 situation — @Apple is temporarily closing these Florida stores: Galleria, The Falls, Aventura, Lincoln Road, Dadeland, Brickell City Centre, Wellington Green, Boca Raton, The Gardens Mall, Millenia, Florida Mall, Altamonte, International Plaza, and Brandon.
Michael Steeber on Twitter 6/25/20: Apple says the 5 remaining stores around Toronto reopen June 29. With that, all locations in Canada will be open again
Kathy Hochul on Twitter 6/25/20: From a coffee shop, toy store, chocolate maker, clothing store and yes, even an old fashioned barbershop, I visited them all today. @LancasterVill has everything… plus loads of charm. Businesses are excited to welcome back customers safely – let’s support them as they reopen.