Two big name New Jersey retailers are closing doors at their physical locations in an attempt to help efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Union-based Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. said Thursday it would temporarily close more than half of its stores in the U.S. and Canada. That same day, Burlington-based Burlington Stores Inc. said it would temporarily close its approximately 100 stores in the U.S.
The Bed Bath closures, effective Friday morning until April 3, work out to about 800 locations and apply to all the company’s banners that do not have health or personal care departments, including Bed Bath, Christmas Tree Shops, Harmon, Harmon Face Values, buybuy Baby, World Market, and Cost Plus.
According to Bed Bath, associates will still receive pay and applicable benefits during the closure. The company is also instituting enhanced cleaning at its locations, social distancing, and adhering to other public health guidelines, it said, in the interest of employees and customers.
“In this time of great uncertainty, our first priority is the welfare of our customers and associates. We are therefore taking this decisive action to help keep our communities safe, while continuing to serve our loyal customers with the essential cleaning, health and personal care products that they and their families need at this time,” President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Tritton said in a prepared statement. “We will continue to adapt and be responsive as our customer needs change, and in line with public health guidance and regulations.”
About 700 stores will remain open, Bed Bath said, pursuant to state and local regulations, with limited hours to provide customers with necessary essentials. Additionally, Bed Bath said that it would enhance its e-commerce and distribution channels – an effort that will include increasing local level fulfillment by using stores temporarily closed to the public to serve customers at home.
For off-price retailer Burlington, in addition to its U.S. closures, according to a March 19 statement from CEO Michael O’Sullivan, store hours were reduced for all locations and the company was going to continue to evaluate additional closures.
Like Bed Bath, Burlington was also taking extra cleaning precautions at its locations and following government and health official guidance.
On March 20, Burlington updated its protocols, announcing that it would temporarily close all store locations at the close of business on March 22.
Burlington said store associates would receive financial support for two weeks.
“We continue to have confidence in our strategic initiatives and longer term growth potential,” Sullivan said. “However, the spread of the COVID-19 virus is clearly having a material impact on the whole retail sector. In this time of unprecedented disruption and uncertainty, we are carefully managing our expenses, inventory receipts, capital expenditures and balance sheet.” During the call the company said it began fiscal year 2020 with approximately $400 million in cash Earlier in the week, in what it described as a precautionary move, the company augmented its cash position by drawing down $400 million from its $600 million ABL facility.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 11:56 a.m. EST on March 21, 2020 to include updated information about store closures from Burlington Stores.