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News

Grocery stores and other retailers trim hours and limit purchases

Nike, Lululemon join Apple in shutting down stores where high-touch items sold

Grocery stores nationwide are curtailing hours to deep clean and restock shelves emptied by consumers’ coronavirus-induced panic-buying of staples like bottled water and toilet paper.

Empty store shelves at a Walmart following coronavirus-induced panic buying. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Meanwhile, high-touch retailers Nike and Lululemon joined Apple in shuttering their stores for several weeks to see how high the infection rate rises.

“The well-being of our teammates and consumers is our top priority so we have decided to close our stores in multiple countries around the world including in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand,” Nike said in a statement.

The National Retailers Federation said it may be several months before it will be possible to assess the economic impact of the virus, according to spokeswoman Mary McGinty.

Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ:URBN) said it is closing all of its 600 stores globally until March 28. Its brands include Anthropologie, BHLDN, Free People, Terrain, Urban Outfitters and Nuuly brands as well as a food and beverage division.

“We will continue to pay our store teams during this time,” the company said in a statement issued on March 14. “We will continue to operate our e-commerce and subscription businesses.”

Trucks that deliver essential goods have been granted a 50-state exemption from hours-of-service (HOS) rules in order to deliver equipment and supplies of food for the emergency restocking of stores.

According to USA Today, numerous grocery stores are curtailing hours. 

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer said late on March 14 that it would be temporarily open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. beginning today, March 15, instead of normal 24-hour operations at some locations. Other Walmart stores also will reduce hours.

Florida-based Publix, New York-based Wegmans and Texas-based H-E-B are among retailers closing earlier.

Kroger, the largest U.S. supermarket chain, said it was adjusting store operating hours in some areas “based on local circumstances.” The Cincinnati-based grocer said on its website that it is focused on remaining open with clean and stocked stores.

“Retailers expect to experience disruptions as the virus spreads, but it’s still too early to determine the full impact,” said McGinty. “As consumers may start to shop less in stores, retailers have robust e-commerce capabilities and will continue to meet the needs of consumers.”

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Alan Adler

Alan Adler is a Detroit-based award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press, the Detroit Free Press and most recently as Detroit Bureau Chief for Trucks.com. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.

6 Comments

  1. Noble1 suggests SMART truck drivers should UNITE & collectively cut out the middlemen from picking truck driver pockets ! UNITE , CONQUER , & YOU'LL PROSPER ! IMHO says:

    Quote:

    “coronavirus-induced panic-buying of staples like bottled water and toilet paper.”

    Think about this for a second . Consumers bought bottled water out of panic while they have water that runs out of their taps at home !!!

    One of my grandmother’s drank tap water all her life and lived a healthy life up to 96 years of age ! She never drank bottled water !!!My grandfather , her husband , would drink sparkling bottled water aka “soda water” and developed skin cancer late in life and passed away at 96 years of age as well !

    People have been brainwashed and don’t realize that they are acting irrationally . You can boil your tap water at home if you’re paranoid . Wow , some people are whacked ! They just follow and do without question .

    It’s pitiful . This pandemic is showing us how the “general population” reason’s . The lack of reasoning in the general population is the “fearful” part ! WOW !

    In my humble opinion …………

      1. Noble1 suggests SMART truck drivers should UNITE & collectively cut out the middlemen from picking truck driver pockets ! UNITE , CONQUER , & YOU'LL PROSPER ! IMHO says:

        Hand sanitizer is a last resort if you don’t have access to soap & water . Recently they said they can’t assure the hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol content even works to eliminate the coronavirus . It also doesn’t last long on your hands . It’s more of a psychological ease than a virus eliminator .

        But hey , whatever makes you psychologically feel safe , buy away , LOL ! Those hoarding the stuff and attempting to price gouge can no longer sell it on ebay nor amazon either .

        IMHO

  2. I-70 exit 49 flying J in Pennsylvania has agents trying to arrest every customer in the Denny’s. Elderly people sitting at the counter laughing alot , one said we get paid to kill truck driver’s to destroy America’s transportation system. They drug your food so your forced to want sex then send a waitress to hustle you into doing it with her so the agents can arrest or kill you for rape. Men disappear around there after they get somebody pregnant

  3. I hope the custodians and those doing more sanitizing will be compensated for their extra work?

    I also wonder how often the protective gloves are being removed and replaced every few hours. Not much good after am hour of use?

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