Taxis pass Saks flaship store on New York's Fifth Avenue, . Saks Inc. agreed to sell itself to Hudson's Bay Co., the Canadian parent of upscale retailer Lord & Taylor, for about $2.4 billion in a deal that will bring luxury to more North American localesSaks Acquisition, New York, USA

Saks Fifth Avenue has decided to temporarily close its Manhattan flagship for up two weeks in response to the coronavirus outbreak, becoming the first major department store to respond as such in the U.S.

Saks has also decided to temporarily close its store in Bala Cynwyd in the Philadelphia area, following recommendations from the governor to businesses in Pennsylvania.

A Saks official said, “The health and well-being of our associates and customers is always of utmost importance. In response to the evolving circumstances around COVID-19, we are working to make thoughtful decisions that are right for our associates, customers and business in each of our markets. Given this and the complexities of operating in New York City, we have decided to temporarily close Saks Fifth Avenue’s New York flagship location. We anticipate being closed for up to two weeks, during which time all associates will be paid for their scheduled hours.”

In all of its markets, the luxury retailer is continuing to monitor the situation locally, as well as state and local officials’ recommendations.

In another coronavirus retail-related development, J.C. Penney has temporarily reduced store hours to help prevent the spread of the virus and protect associates and customers. Starting Tuesday, stores will be open from noon to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

“Our focus remains on the safety and well-being of our associates and customers,” said Jill Soltau, chief executive officer of J.C.Penney. “With the effects of the coronavirus ) outbreak being felt more each day, we want to do everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus and keep our associates, customers, and communities safe.”

In addition, Penney’s has temporarily closed its six stores in Puerto Rico until March 30 to adhere to a governor-mandated measure that required non-essential retailers – excluding grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and gas stations – to close.

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