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Footwear Stores Join Retail’s Mass Anti-Virus Shutdown

Retail continues to react to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the week has seen multiple footwear retailers close their doors to aid in the suppression of the virus.

On Tuesday, Cole Haan and Aldo both closed stores in North American and the United States. Aldo CEO David Bensadoun said the retailer would be closing all stores in Canada, the U.K., the U.S., France and Ireland until the end of the month. Aldo also retroactively extended its return policy to purchases made as of Feb. 1. and expanded the time in which returns can be made to 90 days.

Cole Haan closed the doors of its New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington and California stores, aiming to reopen before March 31.

Skechers is closing all company-owned stores in North America and certain European markets through March 28, simultaneously withdrawing its fiscal 2020 first-quarter guidance due to uncertainty in retail as the situation has deteriorated considerably.

“Given the rapidly evolving coronavirus crisis and the importance of social distancing in curbing the spread of the virus, we believe the closure of our stores is the appropriate decision for the safety of our employees, our valued shoppers, and the public at large,” David Weinberg, Skechers chief operating officer, said.

The footwear company will continue to monitor the situation and close more locations if necessary, Weinberg said.

Meanwhile, Deckers Brands made the decision to close Ugg stores in North America and Europe, including a Sanuk store in Orlando from March 17 through March 31, continuing to provide pay and benefits during the closure period. Like the majority of its retail rivals, the company’s e-commerce operations will continue to operate, with customer experience teams working remotely to assist with any needs.

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Fulfillment centers run by Deckers will continue to operate with additional precautionary health and safety measures.

Journeys’ parent company, Genesco Inc., announced on Wednesday that it will also be closing stores until at least March 28, with plans to reevaluate at that time.

E-commerce operations will remain constant for Journeys, Journeys Kids, Johnston & Murphy and Journeys Canada. Genesco, however, has made the decision to withdraw its guidance as well, pointing to consumer isolation and uncertainty regarding how long such measures will be necessary.

“Over the past few years, we have made strategic investments in our e-commerce operations and IT infrastructure establishing dynamic online businesses that will allow our customers to continue to shop and stay connected with our retail brands through social media during these unprecedented times,” president and CEO Mimi Vaughn said in a statement.

in its fiscal 2020 earnings report last week, Genesco also warned of headwinds driven by reduced airport traffic and tourism as many of its stores rely on tourist footfall.