More retailers announcing furloughs in view of extended shutdown

A growing number of retailers in the
U.S. are furloughing their employees as the coronavirus pandemic has
resulted in the temporary closure of retail stores nationwide.

The store closures came as more people in the U.S. are forced to
remain at home to help curtail the spread of COVID-19 by promoting
social distancing.

The 2 trillion USD stimulus package to deal with the economic fallout
from the coronavirus pandemic that was signed by U.S. President
Donald Trump into law last week provides incentives to companies
avoid massive layoffs.

The stimulus offers tax breaks to these companies as they continue to
provide health benefits to their workers despite not paying wages.
Meanwhile, the workers will be able to tap the unemployment benefits
that have received a boost from the stimulus package by 600 USD per

According to data compiled by Bloomberg, the number of furloughed
employees at major U.S. chains now totals around 600,000, with more
furloughs expected.

Retailers such as Gap, Macy’s and Kohl’s have said that they will
furlough a majority of their workers this week and extend the
duration of their temporary store closures to reduce the spread of

On Tuesday, Urban Outfitters Inc. said it will furlough a substantial
number of stores, wholesale and home office employees for 60 days from
April 1. The impacted employees will continue to receive enrolled
benefits during the furlough period.

The company added that its retail stores will remain temporarily
closed until further notice due to the continued spread of COVID-19.

Guess? Inc. said that starting April 2, it will furlough all of its
U.S. and Canada store associates, about 50 percent of its U.S. and
Canada corporate associates, and most of the associates at its
distribution centers in the U.S. and Canada.

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The apparel retailer added it will fund the health insurance premiums
during the furlough for all eligible associates impacted by these

Fashion retailer L Brands said from April 5, it will furlough most
store associates as well as those who are not currently working to
support the online businesses or who cannot work from home. All
furloughed associates will continue to receive existing healthcare

Other companies that have recently announced furloughs include
fashion retailers Nordstrom, Express Inc. and Steve Madden, shoe
retailer Designer Brands, and Ascena Retail Group, the parent of Ann
Taylor and Lane Bryant.(DPA)


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