Pandora O pendant

PARIS — Joining retailers in the U.S. scrambling to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Pandora will shut its stores in the country for the next two weeks, the Copenhagen-based jeweler said Wednesday.

A mall staple, the maker of charms and bracelets, has already closed stores across Europe, including in Italy, Spain, Germany and France, complying with orders from authorities.

Pandora said it will encourage franchisee operators and multibrand partners to do the same. 

The brand’s stores in China have reopened and traffic is slowly improving there, Pandora added.

Online operations, manufacturing facilities in Thailand and regional distribution centers continue to function, it also said. 

The jeweler was already struggling to cope with declining foot traffic in malls before the arrival of COVID-19, and has embarked on a broad restructuring and brand reboot, focusing on full-price sales, bulking up marketing spending, buying back wholesale inventory and revisiting its store network.

In China, the hit from the pandemic has been hard, pushing like-for-like revenue down between 70 and 80 percent since late January. In Italy, overhaul efforts resulted in like-for-like sales growth in January and February, but business came to a halt in March. A decline in tourism in Australia has affected business there.

The company can absorb several months of lower traffic and still be profitable and generate cash for the full year, it said. 

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