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Tapestry Closes More Stores; Advance Auto Parts Ups Omnichannel Offerings Despite Slower Sales

Brands are continuing to evolve their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tapestry is extending its store closures across all three brands but still continuing to pay associates. Advance Auto Parts is upgrading its omnichannel capabilities to comply with social distancing restrictions, but the car parts retailer is still facing bottom line pressure after shelter in place orders caused comparable store sales to fall approximately 28% year-over-year during the weeks that ended March 28 and April 4.

Tapestry has extended its store closures in North America and Europe to April 24 and will continue reassessing the situation on a bi-weekly basis. The retailer is continuing to offer pay and benefits at affected stores until they reopen. Asian stores are faring better, with essentially all of the company’s stores in China open and locations in South Korea starting to return to normal operating hours. E-Commerce and distribution facilities are operating as well, with only one location in Malaysia and a third-party facility in New Jersey closed.

As an essential business, Advance Auto Parts has taken steps to strengthen its e-Commerce offerings to create additional contactless options. New programs include same-day curbside pickup, same-day home delivery and an updated mobile app with additional ordering options. Professional customers also will have access to new contactless delivery methods.

Additionally, the retailer is offering 80 hours of paid sick time for full-time employees and 44 hours for part-time workers and providing masks to all associates. Advanced Auto Parts also will increase its sanitation practices and encourage frequent handwashing by employees.

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“We are proud to continue serving our customers throughout North America as an essential business, playing a critical role in ensuring people have reliable transportation in order to provide access to food, supplies and medical services,” said Tom Greco, President and CEO of Advance Auto Parts in a statement. “This includes healthcare workers, first responders and the many people who are keeping our grocery and drug stores stocked. We are extremely thankful to all of those who are helping the world get through this global pandemic.”

Unfortunately for Advance Auto Parts’ bottom line, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a decline in driving, which contributed to an overall 3.2% drop in year-over-year sales in the 12 weeks ended March 12. As a result, the retailer has reduced hours at some stores and temporarily closed others, and will offer grants of up to $300 for workers who need help with their living expenses through the Team Member Assistance Fund.

The retailer also is reducing costs in its stores and supply chain to reflect lower sales as well as cutting its capital spend by 50% for the remainder of 2020. Advance Auto Parts drew down $500 million from its previously undrawn $1 billion revolving credit facility in March. The company’s cash on hand was $790 million as of March 21, but that total fell to $744 million as of April 4.

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