Adidas to close all US stores amid coronavirus outbreak - one day after the CEO reportedly instructed locations to stay open in a move that 'requires courage'
- Adidas is temporarily shuttering all stores in the US, Canada, and Europe, an announcement that comes just one day after CEO Kasper Rorsted told employees otherwise in a leaked internal memo that reportedly said leaving stores open "required courage, persistence, and focus."
- An Adidas spokesperson told Business insider the closures will be effective immediately in the US and Canada and will continue through March 29. The temporary shuttering will not include Adidas' corporate offices, where Rorsted wrote in his email that "we expect the leadership teams to be working from our offices on a daily basis."
- The move comes after more than 50 North American retailers - including Adidas competitors Nike and Under Armour - announced they would close doors and pay employees for lost shifts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
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Adidas announced on Tuesday that it would close all stores in North America and Europe in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, coming just one day after a leaked internal memo from CEO Kasper Rorsted reportedly told employees otherwise.
In a statement sent to Business Insider, an Adidas spokesperson confirmed it would temporarily shutter retail locations of all Adidas-owned and Reebok-owned stores in the US, Europe, and Canada through March 29. The closures will be effective immediately in the US and Canada on March 17, while Europe will cease operations on March 18. The effort does not include shutting down corporate offices, according to the spokesperson.
Employees will "continue to receive pay for all hours they've been scheduled to work during the closures," the company said in the statement. The decision comes after more than 50 major retailers in North America announced temporary closures over the past several days in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
The decision comes in stark contrast to an email Rorsted reportedly sent to staff on Monday, in which he is said to have insisted that retail stores would remain open, in a decision he said "required courage, persistence, and focus." In his message, obtained and reported on by Yahoo Finance's Daniel Roberts, Rorsted wrote that coronavirus-related business decisions are expected to vary by country and region, in accordance with local regulations.
"We have to keep the company going and open for business to ensure that we can pay our monthly bills and salaries to everyone," Rorsted wrote, according to Yahoo Finance. "Closing down is easy, staying open in a healthy environment requires courage, persistence, and focus."
The Adidas spokesperson declined to comment on Rorsted's memo.
Adidas had previously elected to shutter select locations in China shortly after the outbreak began in January, confirming in a statement to Reuters in February it would temporarily close "a considerable amount of stores" and that the virus was causing business to experience "a negative impact" in the region.
While competitors like Nike and Under Armour had instructed employees of both retail stores and corporate offices to stay at home and work remotely if possible, Rorsted reportedly wrote that management would be expected to be present in corporate offices, which remain open.
"In all regions and countries where legislation allows, we expect the leadership teams to be working from our offices on a daily basis along with those roles which cannot be performed offsite and/or are viewed as business-critical to the company," Rorsted wrote, according to Yahoo Finance. "This means that we will sometimes have different decisions for different/regions/countries/markets."
Further, for corporate employees at levels below management with the option to work from home, he reportedly wrote that remote work can be "difficult and distracting" and urged "utmost focus and dedication to do your job as good as possible everyday."
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