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Shoe Carnival, Famous Footwear Join Footwear Retail in Closing Stores

More big-name footwear retailers have shut their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, Caleres announced that it would temporarily close all remaining Famous Footwear locations to halt the spread of COVID-19. Previously, the company had only shuttered stores that were in highly impacted areas.

The closures took effect on March 19 and are expected to continue through April 2, though the company will continue to accept online orders for Famous Footwear, Naturalizer, Sam Edelman and Allen Edmonds products.

“During these extraordinary times we are taking steps to manage the company conservatively,” Ken Hannah, senior vice president and chief financial officer for Caleres, said. “We are reducing capital expenditures and operating expenses and we have the flexibility to leverage our strong balance sheet to shift our capital allocation priorities to align with the best interest of our shareholders.”

Hannah said Caleres has a liquidity position of more than $175 million and has the ability to use an accordion feature to increase the capacity of its asset-based credit facility up to $250 million.

Shoe Carnival similarly announced it would be shutting down its U.S. and Puerto Rican stores until April 2. The company will continue to pay employees for scheduled shifts during this time.

“The health and safety of our employees, our customers and the communities we serve is our primary concern,” Shoe Carnival vice chairman and CEO Cliff Sifford said. “While the decision to close our stores was not made lightly, we believe ensuring the well-being of our teams and doing our part to minimize the spread of this deadly virus is the right one.”

Shoe Carnival’s digital channels, including its website and mobile app, remain operational through the store closures.

The retailer said it has “sufficient flexibility” stemming from a $50 million credit facility and a strong balance sheet, bolstered by its solid vendor relationships. Shoe Carnival will not provide guidance for its upcoming fiscal year on March 25 when it releases its fiscal 2019 earnings report.

Caleres has withdrawn the guidance it gave in its FY19 earnings report earlier in March. The company said its outlook only provided for supply chain disruptions and didn’t take into account a reduction in consumer demand. Instead, Caleres will update investors on the situation in its upcoming Q1 conference call.