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Ralph Lauren Joins Peers in Closing Stores on Coronavirus Alert

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Ralph Lauren Corporation (RL - Free Report) is the latest among many retailers to temporarily shut down outlets in response to the government’s public health guidance to contain the coronavirus outbreak. The company closed all of its stores across North America between Mar 18 and Apr 1 to play its part in safeguarding its employees and society.

It revealed that all employees will get full pay for the two weeks. However, the company’s online sites and mobile apps remain up for customers.

It is taking other measures to protect employees, which include canceling travels, allowing work from home, deep cleansing all work stations and implementing staggered schedules in distribution centers. Further, the company stated that it will provide an update on the financial impacts of the coronavirus outbreak as well as its outlook for the first quarter and fiscal 2021 on its fourth-quarter fiscal 2020 earnings call.

Ralph Lauren also highlighted that it already closed several stores in Asia and Europe. In mid-February, the company temporarily closed nearly two-thirds of its stores in mainland China in response to the coronavirus outbreak. For fourth-quarter fiscal 2020, it estimated that the situation in China, Japan and Korea will hurt its Asia operation’s net sales by $55-$70 million and operating income by $35-$45 million.

Shares of the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company showed resilience despite the news and gained 2.7% on Mar 17. Notably, shares of Ralph Lauren have slumped 37.3% year to date compared with the industry’s 46.6% decline.



You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The overall market sentiment has been volatile over the past two months due to the global COVID-19 outbreak. The virus is considered to be originated in Wuhan, China, on Dec 31 and has since spread in the United States, Canada, Italy, Spain, France, South Korea, Iran and Germany, among other countries. It was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization last week.

With the epicenter of the outbreak now shifting to Europe and the emergence of the virus in the United States, many retailers went on a temporary lockdown for about 10-12 days after President Donald Trump announced a health emergency in the country. Later on, the Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark interest rates to nearly zero on Mar 15 and launched a massive $700-billion quantitative easing program to shield the economy from the effects of the virus outbreak.

Here are some companies that closed stores in the United States and other countries to combat the spread of coronavirus. Yoga apparel maker, lululemon (LULU - Free Report) , announced the closure of all stores in North America and Europe from Mar 16 through Mar 27, while keeping its online site active.

Moreover, Under Armour (UAA - Free Report) closed all stores in North America from Mar 16 through Mar 28, 2020, safeguarding the health of its employees and customers.

American Eagle (AEO - Free Report) temporarily closed all stores across its brands from Mar 17 to Mar 27 in the United States and Canada. Despite expecting significant adverse impacts, American Eagle withdrew the first-quarter fiscal 2020 outlook issued on Mar 4, 2020.

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