U.S. Retail Chains Reduce Hours, Close Stores

Giant Eagle, Kroger, Walmart and other grocers curb hours to restock and disinfect stores.

March 16, 2020

NEW YORK—As a health precaution amid the COVID-19 outbreak, some major U.S. grocers and retailers are shortening operating hours or temporarily shuttering their brick-and-mortar stores at least until late March, USA Today reports.

Giant Eagle, Harris Teeter, H-E-B, Kroger, Publix, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and Wegmans are among the grocers trimming their hours to allow time to replenish shelves and cold cases and deep clean their facilities. Other stores are expected to follow suit in the coming days.

Grocers are trying to speed up orders from suppliers and are hiring more workers in stores to refill empty shelves, the Wall Street Journal reports. Albertsons’ Seattle division said it is hiring drivers and in-store workers immediately.

But clothing stores and other retail outlets are shutting their doors for the time being. Apple has shuttered all its retail stores outside Greater China until March 27. Lululemon stores will be closed through March 27. Nike is closing its U.S. stores for at least 12 days, Urban Outfitters stores will be closed worldwide until at least March 28 and Warby Parker stores will be closed through March 27.

For the past week, stores in the U.S. have been limiting items, cutting operating hours and using delivery drivers to cope with heightened demand amid the outbreak. Consumers have been rushing to stock up on staples and supplies, and many are finding bare shelves.

General Mills Inc. has plants running at near-capacity, Conagra Brands Inc. is shifting its production lines to focus on in-demand items, and Campbell Soup Co. is lining up suppliers for key ingredients in case factories close, the Journal reports.

Coronavirus Resources

NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.