Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Apple Is Hoping to Reopen Its Stores Soon

By Evan Niu, CFA - Mar 25, 2020 at 9:00AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Each store will evaluate local conditions before making a decision.

Following temporarily closures within China, Apple (AAPL 1.97%) has reopened all of its retail stores within the Middle Kingdom, as that country has made meaningful progress in containing the novel coronavirus. As the disease spread throughout other countries, Apple had closed all stores outside of China on March 13, with the timeline for reopening in flux because the crisis evolves every day.

The company is now reportedly hoping to welcome customers back to its retail locations in the first half of April.

Deidre O'Brien in an Apple store

Deidre O'Brien. Image source: Apple.

Apple Stores to reopen "on a staggered basis"

This week, Bloomberg reported that the Mac maker is optimistic that some stores may be able to reopen next month "on a staggered basis," citing an internal memo from Senior Vice President of Retail and People Deirdre O'Brien.

The crisis is unfolding in differing ways across countries as governments adopt varying measures and populations respond differently to the pandemic. Some stores could open as soon as the first half of April "depending on the conditions in their community," O'Brien reportedly wrote. The Cupertino tech giant operates 458 retail stores outside of its Greater China geographical segment.

That includes 17 locations in Italy, one of the hardest-hit countries in the world. The most recent store that Apple opened in Italy was its Piazza Liberty location in Milan in July 2018. Milan remains in lockdown along with the rest of the country, as Italy now has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the world.

Front of Apple Piazza Liberty store

Apple Piazza Liberty. Image source: Apple.

Apple is also extending its remote work policies for employees outside of China that are able to do their jobs from home. The Cupertino tech giant plans to reevaluate those policies weekly, according to O'Brien.

The store closures didn't stop Apple from updating the iPad Pro and MacBook Air last week. The company will just have to meet demand for those gadgets by shipping online orders.

The biggest drop the smartphone market has ever had

Apple was among the first large multinational corporations to warn that it would miss its revenue guidance due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Among the initial impacts were disruptions to the company's supply chain, but those constraints may be easing; Foxconn recently said it had secured enough workers for its Chinese manufacturing facilities to meet seasonal demand.

Meanwhile, the pandemic is decimating smartphone demand. Market researcher Strategy Analytics said last week that February saw the largest drop in global smartphone volumes in history, plunging 38% to 61.8 million.

"Despite tentative signs of recovery in China, we expect global smartphone shipments overall to remain weak throughout March, 2020," Strategy Analytics analyst Yiwen Wu said in a statement. "The coronavirus scare has spread to Europe, North America and elsewhere, and hundreds of millions of affluent consumers are in lockdown, unable or unwilling to shop for new devices."

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$145.74 (1.97%) $2.81

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
322%
 
S&P 500 Returns
113%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 07/07/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.