Retailers continue to announce reopening processes at different paces, based on their resources and positioning during the pandemic. Designer Brands will reopen 200 DSW locations in the first week of May with certain restrictions; Nordstrom will take a phased approach to reopening but close 16 stores permanently; and Walgreens, which as an essential retailer has operated continuously, will resume regular hours of operation where possible.
DSW opened its first several stores on April 30 and is continuing to reopen across the U.S. and Canada as circumstances permit. The retailer’s stores are adopting standard precautions including increased associate training, limiting traffic and handing out PPE, as well as limiting transactions to credit, debit or gift cards only and implementing designated merchandise try-on areas.
“Recovery isn’t about flipping a switch and returning to ‘business as usual,’ but we are confident that we will come out of the crisis stronger,” said Roger Rawlins, CEO of Designer Brands in a statement. “The pandemic has had a profound impact on our customers, our associates and our communities. Now, we are looking to the future and adapting our stores and our business in a way that allows us not just to survive, but to thrive.”
Like DSW, Nordstrom will take standard precautions at its reopened stores, and will pause or adapt high-touch services and events and modify its fitting rooms for the near future. The company also will shift its Anniversary Sale event from July to August.
Nordstrom has been making good use of its stores even while they are closed: more than 50% of Nordstrom.com orders are currently fulfilled from Nordstrom stores, while 25% of orders from Nordstromrack.com and HauteLook.com orders are fulfilled by Nordstrom Rack locations. The retailer has been filling all Canadian e-Commerce orders through its stores.
“We’ve been investing in our digital and physical capabilities to keep pace with rapidly changing customer expectations,” said Erik Nordstrom, CEO of Nordstrom in a statement. “The impact of COVID-19 is only accelerating the importance of these capabilities in serving customers. More than ever, we need to work with flexibility and speed. Our market strategy helps with both, bringing inventory closer to where customers live and work, allowing us to use our stores as fulfillment centers to get products to customers faster, and connecting digital and physical experiences with services like curbside pickup and returns.”
Nordstrom also is restructuring its regions, support roles and corporate organization for greater speed and flexibility. This restructuring is expected to create savings of approximately $150 million, representing about 30% of the retailer’s previously announced plans for net cash reductions.
While Walgreens never closed any stores, the retailer’s COVID-19 precautions included shorter operating hours. Its pharmacies will now return to standard operations nationwide based on local conditions, though locations in areas such as downtown city centers and markets with government-mandated curfews will maintain shorter days for the time being.