These retailers are shutting their doors to slow the spread of coronavirus - but still paying their employees

Kate Mendonca
Shopping Editor

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Here in North America, we’re still in the early stages of the global coronavirus pandemic. While many individuals are taking it upon themselves to practice social distancing in order to limit the virus’s spread, governments haven’t yet enforced ultra-strict lockdown measures in light of the growing issue.

Looking to do their part to slow the spread of the virus, retailers are now stepping up to the plate to help minimize risk to the public too. With store closures announced across Canada and the United States (and in some cases worldwide), large businesses are shuttering their doors to keep staff safe. 

ALSO SEE: Pantry essentials you actually should be stocking up on

Consumer-facing workers, including retail employees, will be hardest hit by changes to store hours and closures, so many brands are taking the initiative to ease the burden on those who are most vulnerable. 

Ahead, we’ve rounded up 12 of the retailers that may have closed their doors, but are still committed to their employees’ health and safety. If you’re looking to support those retailers, all have made it known that their online operations are still going strong, and we’ll be updating this list as more announcements are available.

Adidas

In support of the worldwide effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Adidas announced on March 18 that they would be closing their retail locations across Canada until March 29.

“We are committed to ensuring our retail staff are financially supported and will continue to pay all staff scheduled to work during this period of temporary closure,” they shared in a comment.

American Eagle

Effective March 17 through March 27, American Eagle announced that they would be shutting down all of their retail store locations and providing all staff with pay for scheduled hours during this time.

“Any associate that is ill or has symptoms is able to take time off, and we are doing all that we can to remove financial barriers for all of our people so that they can receive diagnostic testing or medical care when needed,” they shared.

Ann Taylor

In a statement shared on March 18, the brand announced that they would be closing all Ann Taylor locations (as well as their sister store Loft) until March 28.

“Our associates are at the heart of what we do, and they will be paid for their scheduled shifts during this time,” reads the company’s statement.

Apple

In a statement released on March13, the tech giant announced that they would be closing all of their stores outside of Greater China until March 27. 

“The global spread of COVID-19 is affecting every one of us,” shared Apple CEO Tim Cook in a blog post shared on the company’s website. “We are all adapting and responding in our own way, and Apple wants to continue to play a role in helping individuals and communities emerge stronger.”

In an effort to protect retail staff, Cook shared that “will continue to receive pay in alignment with business as usual operations.”

Aritzia

As of March 16, the Canadian retailer shuttered all of their locations within Canada and the U.S. until further notice.“We’re committed to being both responsive and responsible, navigating these times with everyone’s safety in mind,” the company shared in an Instagram post

In the post, Aritzia also announced that they will be “providing the financial continuity of both our internal team and the employees of our overseas partners impacted by COVID-19” with the creation of the Aritzia Community™ Relief Fund. All proceeds made through online purchases during this time of closures will directly go to the Fund to support their people and their families.

Bath and Body Works

In an announcement shared on their website, Bath and Body Works CEO Andrew Meslow announced that all store locations in the U.S. and Canada will close temporarily. It’s uncertain how long the retail locations will remain closed, but Meslow made of point of sharing that all staff will be financially cared for.

“While our associates are home with their loved ones at this critical time, we'll support them with pay, as well as look for other ways we might ease their concerns and share our appreciation for all they've done,” Meslow wrote.

Benefit

The makeup retailer announced that it would be closing all of its stores and brow bars in the U.S. and Canada, beginning March 17 through April 3. All employees would continue to receive pay and benefits until that time.

“We hope to stay connected with you online and on social because, after all, laughter is the best cosmetic,” their statement reads.

Bite Beauty

Canadian beauty brand Bite announced March 18 that they would be closing their popular North American Lip Lap retail locations through March 29. All staff will continue to receive their regular pay and benefits during this time.

The Body Shop

In a statement shared online on March 16, The Body Shop announced that in addition to several European countries, all North American store locations would remain closed until at least March 27.

In addition to continuing to pay salaries during store closures, The Body Shop also committed to donating approximately 30,000 units of cleansing products to sheters and non-profits in need throughout the US and Canada.

Canada Goose

Beginning March 17, Canada Goose announced that they would be closing all North American and European store locations until April 3.

In a letter to employees, Canada Goose CEO Dani Reiss noted that he will forego his salary for at least the next three months, and the company will use those funds to establish the Canada Goose Employee Support Fund to provide critical financial support to employees and their families during this time.

Coach

Coach recently shared that beginning March 18, they would be temporarily closing all store locations across Canada, the United States and Europe until March 27. All employees will continue to receive schedules pay and benefits during this time.

David’s Tea

“As a company who cares deeply about our Steepers, we’ve been carefully considering everything we can do to help the situation,” reads a statement from David’s Tea. In order to address the growing concern around COVID-19, the retailer announced that they would be closing all North American retail locations.

The Detox Market

Amid rising COVID-19 concerns, founder Romain Gaillard announced on March 17 that the clean beauty retailer would be closing all of its Canadian locations for two weeks.

The entire team will be compensated for the duration of the closure, and the company stressed that “safety is in our DNA, and we are committed to protecting our team and customers as best we can.”

Everlane

Everlane announced on March 15 that they would be closing the doors to all of their retail stores for the next two weeks, as well as offering compensation to all retail team members during this time.

“We’ll continue to navigate how to best serve our entire community—Everlane team members, our customers, factories, and warehouse partners,” the statement reads.

Foot Locker

In a message to their community, Foot Locker CEO Richard Johnson shared that all North American stores would remain closed from March 17 to March 31 while store employees would continue to receive their regular pay.

“Let’s work to protect and care for one another,” Johnson shared. “Foot Locker, Inc. remains resilient and strong, and we‘re definitely in this together.”   

Fossil

Following an employee in Toronto testing positive for COVID-19, Fossil announced that they would be closing all North American stores until at least March 28 with employees receiving full pay through this time.

“We must take great care and exercise caution in everything we do,” the company shared. “Our most important concern is the health and safety of our customers and team members.”

Gap Inc.

In a statement released March 19, the company behind Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic announced that they would be closing all of their store locations across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico for the next two weeks.

“Families truly are at the heart of everything we do, and we know that each and every one of us will make a difference to be a bright spot in someone’s day,” they shared.

Glossier

Millennial-loved beauty brand Glossier was one of the first to announce their store closures, with founder Emily Weiss making a statement on March 12 to shutter all of their locations, including both permanent and pop-up locations.

“Our amazing offline editors are not just employees—they are the living embodiment of our brand and ethos, and hosts of sorts. So we’ll be compensating them for their scheduled time throughout our planned two weeks of closure,” Weiss shared. “From a company perspective, by closing our stores, we’ll sacrifice some near-term business goals, but we're prepared to put public health ahead of our bottom line.”

Guess

During these extraordinary times, Guess has made the decision to shut all of it Canadian and American retail locations until March 27. In an post shared on Instagram, the company noted that the entire Guess team “will continue to receive pay for all hours that they were scheduled to work.”

H&M

The Swedish fast fashion brand announced March 18 that they would be closing its retail locations across Canada and the U.S., as well as Germany, Portugal, and Belgium until April 2. In addition to continuing to pay for all scheduled retail shifts, the brand also announced that the non-profit H&M Foundation would be donating $500,000 USD to the World Health Organization to help prevent the spread of this pandemic.

Hot Topic

The brand best known for everyone’s teen goth phase announced on March 17 that they would be closing all store locations until March 30, as well as providing pay for all affected sales associates and employees.

Hudson’s Bay

Effective immediately, Hudson’s Bay announced that all store locations across Canada will remain closed for two weeks, at which time the decision to reopen will be reassessed. All employees will continue to receive pay throughout this time.

Ikea

In an unprecedented move, Ikea announced on March 18 that they would be temporarily closing all Canadian retail locations.

“We are committed to supporting our 7,300 co-workers in the best possible way during closure. We will continue to support co-workers through our comprehensive benefits package and paid leave policy,” reads a statement on their website.

J.Crew

To help keep staff safe, J.Crew announced that they too would be closing all J.Crew and J.Crew Factory retail stores until March 28. All staff will be receiving pay for this timeframe, since as CEO Jan Singer noted, “they are the heart of our business.”

Kering Group

The luxury conglomerate behind Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, and Brioni announced that they would be closing all North American store locations for two weeks, reported the New York Times. All employees will continue to receive pay.

Kiehl’s

In a message shared on Instagram on March 18, Kiehl's announced that would be closing its Canadian store locations "until further notice" will continue to pay all employees during the temporary closure. 

Levi’s

In an announcement shared on social media on March 16, the denim retailer made the difficult decision to shut all Levi’s and Levi’s Outlet stores across Canada through March 27. All store staff will be compensated for all hours scheduled during this time.

Lululemon

In a letter penned by Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald, the athletic apparel company announced the closure of all of their European and North American stores March 16 through March 27. 

“Taking care of our people is our top priority, so we’ve ensured that our employees will receive pay for all hours they were scheduled to work,” McDonald wrote. In closing all store locations, that also includes all of Lululemon’s community events like city runs and in-store yoga, which the company is suggesting that “guests [connect] through yoga and meditation classes online.”

Lush

Lush owners Karen and Mark Wolverton shared a letter to customers on March 15, announcing their decision to shut all 258 stores across Canada and the U.S. “We are working through how we can best support our employee base through these changes, ensuring regular pay for all staff during this period,” the statement noted. 

They were careful to note that because their products are all made fresh by hand weekly, these closures will also require Lush to significantly scale down their manufacturing and distribution operations until March 29, when the stores could reopen. 

Michael Kors

Beginning March 18, Michael Kors announced that all of its North American retail locations would remain closed until April 10.

“Taking care of our associates is core to who we are, so we have committed to pay our store employees during this period,” the company shared.

New Balance

Effective March 16, New Balance announced that it would be closing not only its retail locations in the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe, but it would also temporarily be shutting down all offices and factories until at least March 27. All associates in North America will continue to receive pay and benefits.

Nike

Nike shared that they would be closing all retail locations between March 16 and 27. Countries affected by this decision include the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. 

In addition to store closures, the company shared that they would be “taking additional steps in other Nike-managed facilities, including the option to work from home, staggered work schedules, social distancing and additional safety and cleaning steps to help protect and support our teammates.”

Nordstrom

To do its part to limit the spread of COVID-19, Nordstrom announced that all store locations would be closed for two weeks, beginning March 17.

“We realize the impact a closure can have on our store employees,” the company said in a statement. “We want to take care of them as best we can and will be providing pay and benefits during this two-week period as well as providing additional resources to help them through this challenging time.”

Reformation

In a statement shared on Instagram on March 14, the sustainable fashion brand shared that they would be closing all retail stores, including one Toronto location.

In addition to providing pay for all retail teams, the company elaborated in the comments that they are also providing financial assistance to warehouse and head office employees, stating, “If a team member is sick, in self-quarantine, or needs to care for children during school closures we are providing paid time off and will be providing childcare reimbursement.”

RW&Co.

The company behind Reitman’s, Penningtons, Addition Elle, RW&Co. and Thyme Maternity announced that they would be closing the doors to all of their brands nationwide. Beginning March 17, the stores will remain closed until March 28 while all store employees would continue to receive pay.

Saks Fifth Avenue

In a statement shared on March 18, the luxury department store announced that they would be closing all of their stores across Canada and the U.S. for two weeks.

“Please know that we are committed to taking care of our store associates, who will be paid for their scheduled hours during this two week period,” reads the message.

Sephora

In an open letter shared late March 16, President and CEO of Sephora Americas Jean-André Rougeot announced that all stores in Canada and the United States would be shutting their doors through April 3.

“We will continue to care for our employees and their families,” Rougeot wrote. “Any changes to our corporate or store locations will not affect our commitment to them. To that end, all store employees will continue to receive their base pay for scheduled shifts for the duration of this closure.”

URBN (Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People)

In a statement shared on March 14, the company behind Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People announce that they would be closing all store locations until March 28. 

“We will continue to pay our store teams during this time,” the statement reads. “While we’ll miss seeing you in our stores, our website and app are always open (please allow us to provide a break from the news). We hope to bring you a touch of joy and inspiration in this difficult time.”

Uniqlo

Effective March 17, the Japanese fast fashion brand announce that they would be closing all retail locations across Canada until March 30, while continuing to pay all wages during this time.

Vans

In order to combat the spread of COVID-19, Vans announced that they would be temporarily closing all store locations in Canada and the U.S. through April 5. Store associates will continue to receive full pay and benefits during this time.

Williams Sonoma

The home goods retailer announced on March 17 that they would be closing all North American stores and continuing to pay during the temporary closure. They plan to reopen on April 2, and will also be including their other brands Pottery Barn and West Elm in the store closures.

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