Chow Tai Fook will temporarily suspend operations at more than 40 locations in Hong Kong and Macau following a rise in the coronavirus epidemic.
The shutdown is a protective measure in the interest of public health and safety, as the risk of the virus spreading increases, the Hong Kong-based retailer told Rapaport News Tuesday 11. The company will also shorten its operating hours at the rest of its locations in those areas until further notice, it added.
The jeweler has no plans to lay off staff, but instead will implement a “flexible staff deployment” arrangement, in which frontline employees may take annual leave or work in other stores.
Chow Tai Fook has already closed all its stores in affected regions of China, which account for approximately 80% of its locations in the area. It has reduced hours in the remaining 20% of mainland stores.
Last month, Chow Tai Fook said it planned to close up to 15 stores in Hong Kong with leases due to expire during the fiscal year starting April 2020. The move follows a rise in anti-government street protests and a slowdown in tourism to the municipality, which have dented sales.
The company’s retail sales fell 38% in Hong Kong and Macau in the third fiscal quarter ending December 31. At that time, Chow Tai Fook had 3,789 total points of sale, with 91 in Hong Kong and 18 in Macau.