Vancouver-based athletic apparel retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc. has announced that its Chinese business has been impacted by the country's coronavirus outbreak, leading it to close most of its stores in the country.
With the guidance of the country's local authorities, the majority of Lululemon’s 38 brick-and-mortar stores in China have been closed since February 3, 2020, with some now operating on a reduced schedule, the company said. Its online business has continued to operate.
“We’re inspired by the resilience and commitment of our team in China as we navigate the emerging impacts of the coronavirus," said Calvin McDonald, chief executive officer. "The safety of our people is our highest priority, and we are adjusting store operations based upon the recommendations of local authorities...Despite the current disruption to our growing business in China, we remain confident in the long-term opportunities this market holds for Lululemon."
The company said it is continuing to monitor the situation and will provide an update on the financial and operational impact on its fourth-quarter fiscal 2019 earnings call in late March.
Like Lululemon, other major retailers and brands--including Apple, Nike, Adidas, and Burberry--have also temporarily closed stores throughout China as concern about the virus caused a decrease in tourism and sales. However, some experts predict that retail should be able to make a fast recovery once the virus has been contained.