Canadian retailers feel the pinch of coronavirus store closures in China

Feb 22 2020, 2:29 pm

Some Canadian retailers have had to close their stores in China amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, hindering plans to grow revenues by selling to new overseas customers.

Vancouver-based Lululemon has kept most of its 38 stores in China closed since February 3, following advice from Chinese health authorities.

“The safety of our people is our highest priority,” CEO Calvin McDonald said in a February 21 statement. “We’re inspired by the resilience and commitment of our team in China as we navigate the emerging impacts of the coronavirus.”

Some stores are open with reduced hours, and the company is still operating its online business in China.

“Despite the current disruption to our growing business in China, we remain confident in the long-term opportunities this market holds for Lululemon,” McDonald said.

Earlier this month, Canadian parka brand Canada Goose revised its 2020 fiscal outlook based on the coronavirus outbreak in China.

“The health crisis has resulted in a sharp decline in customer traffic and purchasing activity,” the company wrote in a February 7 earnings report.

Canada Goose noted retailers across China have experienced “significant reductions in revenue” as people take health precautions such as staying indoors. That impact has extended beyond China as well, because travel disruptions mean there are fewer customers shopping in North American and European stores too, according to Canada Goose.

However, the jacket-maker believes the impact will be temporary.

“Canada Goose’s brand and business momentum in Greater China remain strong,” it said.