Retailers Were Struggling. Then Came The Coronavirus

Thousands of American stores and malls were facing intense pressure. Then a pandemic hit, crippling the economy in much of the country and forcing shoppers to stay home. A wave of brands, including Macy’s, Nordstrom, Nike, Urban Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch, H&M and Victoria’s Secret have announced in recent days that they will shut stores temporarily as the coronavirus outbreak spreads. Others, such as Kohl’s, JCPenney, and Gap are reducing store hours, but industry analysts expect they may soon follow their rivals as the coronavirus ripples across the country. Many of these chains have been grappling with a series of powerful forces chipping away at their businesses — Amazon and big-box retailers like Walmart, Costco, and Target, which are currently seeing a crush of demand; trendy upstart brands online; and discount players such as TJ Maxx. Last year, more than 9,300 stores closed their doors, a 59% jump from the previous year. The retail sector lost upward of 75,000 jobs in 2019. Read more at CNN Business.