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Shoe Carnival Joins Peers in Reopening Stores

Shoe Carnival has opened 184 stores in areas where coronavirus pandemic countermeasures are being relaxed, the company said Monday.

At the end of March, Shoe Carnival joined the vast majority of U.S. retailers in closing down stores in areas locked down as a result of the crisis. At the time, this order was only scheduled to go into effect until April 2.

That deadline was eventually pushed back but Shoe Carnival vice chairman and president Cliff Sifford said now is the time to begin a push to return to business in a fraught retail environment.

“The last six weeks have brought about unprecedented challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the country,” Sifford said in a statement. “However, as many states begin to restart their economies, the Shoe Carnival team is thrilled to be welcoming our loyal customers back into our stores as the summer season begins.”

On May 1, Shoe Carnival reopened 122 of its stores and Sifford said the first day “went smoothly” with “brisk” customer traffic. Starting Monday, 62 additional stores will be reopened with additional safety procedures.

“To ensure the health and safety of our employees and customers, we have taken extraordinary measures ahead of the store re-openings,” Sifford said. “All of our stores have been supplied with personal protective equipment (PPE), we have intensified cleaning and sanitation procedures, and prominently displayed signage to reinforce social distancing and good hygiene.”

The retailer said it will look to open more stores in the coming weeks, following local and state guidelines. Shoe Carnival, which will continue to operate its e-commerce channels, expects most stores will be reopened by the end of May.

“While we understand that the new normal we find ourselves in is unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes, we are excited to re-engage with our customers and have our team members back in the stores,” Sifford said.

Before it was forced to shut down its stores due to the pandemic, Shoe Carnival reported in record fiscal 2019 sales and said early sales in the first quarter of the current fiscal year—prior to the outbreak—were strong.