While Congress was putting together a massive $2 trillion stimulus bill that includes sending direct payments to Americans, some companies have already stepped up with financial assistance for their employees affected by COVID-19.
On March 24, lululemon athletica (LULU 2.46%) CEO Calvin McDonald announced on Twitter that the company was setting up a $2 million Ambassador Relief Fund to assist ambassador studio owners during this difficult time. "The fund provides basic operating cost coverage to sweat businesses that have been affected by COVID-19," McDonald said.
Protecting its most valuable asset
Lululemon has closed all its stores in North America and Europe through April 5, although that could be extended if the circumstances change. Lululemon originally announced on March 15 that it would close all stores in North America and Europe through March 27. However, customers can still shop online and through the mobile app, and all employees will continue to be paid for scheduled work during the closure.
Lululemon's ambassadors are a key part of its branding effort in local communities around the world. In partnership with the company, ambassadors help test new products and gather valuable feedback from customers. This is a crucial asset that Lululemon doesn't want to lose to the unemployed pool.
The yoga-inspired retailer has plenty of resources to take care of its staff. As of Nov. 3, 2019, Lululemon held $586 million in cash and no debt on its balance sheet. The company made a profit of $566 million on a trailing-12-month basis through the quarter ended in November. Lululemon will announce its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings later today after the market close.