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Five Below Has Furloughed Most of Its Workers

By Daniel B. Kline - Apr 6, 2020 at 2:31PM

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The discount retailer's stores remain closed in response to efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Five Below (FIVE 1.92%) has closed all of its stores as part of its response to the global coronavirus pandemic and has no planned date to reopen them.

The retailer, which sells most of its merchandise for prices totaling under $5, does sell some food and beverage items, but it did not advocate for its stores to be considered an essential retailer (it's hard to argue that people need candy and soda). Because its stores have been temporarily closed, the retailer has furloughed the "majority of store and distribution center associate," according to a press release.

A Five Below store in happier days

A Five Below store in happier days. Image source: Five Below.

What is Five Below doing?

Five Below will be covering the cost of health insurance for furloughed workers through the month of April.

"Our more than 900 stores have always been a place of discovery and fun for our favorite customer: kids. We're eager to reopen our stores as soon as it is safe to do so for our customers, crew, and community, and we are targeting May 1 or earlier if conditions change," said CEO Joel Anderson in a press release.

The retail chain has kept its website open.

"We miss the excitement and energy our associates create for the communities we serve and can't wait to bring back our crew," the CEO added.

What's next for Five Below?

Furloughing workers allows them to collect unemployment or look for temporary jobs elsewhere. It's a painful move to make but saves the company money that will help it get through the current shutdown and allow it to open up again when the coronavirus pandemic has passed.

Daniel B. Kline has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Five Below and recommends the following options: long January 2022 $115 calls on Five Below and short January 2022 $120 calls on Five Below. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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