Daily Management Review

Ikea, Starbucks And Others Temporarily Close Stores In China Fur To Coronavirus Outbreak


Ikea, Starbucks And Others Temporarily Close Stores In China Fur To Coronavirus Outbreak
The rapid spread of the coronavirus in China has forced the Swedish homewares giant IKEA to temporarily close down all of its stores in the country to prevent further spread of the virus, the company announced on Thursday. 
A day ago on Wednesday, the biggest furniture retailer of the world had announced the temporary closure of half of its stores in China because of China while also cutting down on the time that the retail outlets remained open. Thursday’s decision was a follow up on the Wednesday announcement. Now all of the 30 stores of the company in China have been temporarily closed down.
As of Wednesday, a total of 170 deaths because of the coronavirus have been reported in China alone, which was 38 more than what was reported a day before, while the number of people infected by the virus has increased to more than 1,700.
On the other hand, another western company, the international coffee chain Starbucks, also announced temporary closure of more than half of its stores in China because of the outbreak of the virus there.
Earlier in the week, the top executives of Starbucks described the impact of the spread of the virus as a "very complex situation" and had added that the decision of closures was partly because of directions to do the same from the various local authorities in China as well as a proactive measure by the company to prevent the further spreading of the virus from among the workers and customers via its outlets.
"Our immediate focus is on two key priorities in China," CEO of the company Kevin Johnson told analysts on an earnings call. "First, caring for the health and well-being of our partners and customers in our stores. Second: playing a constructive role in supporting local health officials and government leaders as they work to contain the coronavirus."
Starbucks give great importance to the Chinese market because it is a fast growing one for the company. There are many other western companies that also consider China to be a very important market. The outbreak of the virus has therefore starting to shows signs of impact on these companies. These companies have also been affected by the restrictions on travel and of some cities being quarantined by the Chinese government.
Stores and outlets have also been temporarily closed by a number of other companies such as McDonald's and KFC in China. The companies are expected to provide more information about the closures in the coming days. 
One of the Apple stores in China have also been closed down temporarily by the company, CEO Tim Cook said on Tuesday. "Many of the stores that remain open have also reduced operating hours," Cook said. "We're taking additional precautions and frequently deep-cleaning our stores as well as conducting temperature checks for employees."
While initially anticipating announcing the company’s financial forecast for the year on Tuesday, Starbucks CEO Johnson said that that would not be the case now "due to the dynamic situation unfolding with the coronavirus." With almost 4,300 stores there at the end of 2019, China is the second-largest market for Starbucks.
(Source:www.npr.org & www.afr.com)