Casual clothing and lifestyle retail company Abercrombie & Fitch's (NYSE:ANF) response to the coronavirus pandemic is to close all of its stores in North America and Europe, with closures scheduled to last until March 28. The company's stores will remain open in the Asia-Pacific region.
CEO Fran Horowitz said the closures would help protect the well-being of customers, employees, and the municipalities where the stores are located. She also noted Abercrombie & Fitch's business would carry on as much as possible using remote connections.
Online ordering remains available, with Horowitz noting that the company's "robust digital business" enables continuous fulfillment of consumer orders during the brick-and-mortar shutdown. She also described how Abercrombie & Fitch will focus on "maximizing cleaning measures at our distribution center to ensure safe product shipping." The company will also offer extended return periods which take the period of shuttering into account, so that those wanting to return items purchased before or during the closure will be able to do so afterward.
Horowitz also bought $334,000 worth of stock at $11.13 per share. This boosted her personal stake in the company by 12%. The transaction is the biggest instance of insider buying at the enterprise during the previous 12-month period.
The news comes immediately after Abercrombie & Fitch posted strong fourth-quarter 2019 results. As part of its store closure, the company said it is withdrawing its guidance for the first quarter of 2020 and fiscal year 2020. Because of the fluid, rapidly changing situation, it declines to issue new guidance at the present time.