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U.S. Fashion and Beauty Retailers Begin to Reopen

But safety measures will make for a different kind of shopping experience.
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If for some reason you need to go to a Macy's right now, you may be able to — depending on where you live.

After weeks of lockdown, several states and counties in the U.S. are beginning to ease up on the lockdown measures that were put in place to slow the spread of Covid-19, and allow certain nonessential businesses to reopen. And among those businesses being allowed to reopen are clothing stores.

As retail chains like Nordstrom and Gap — eager to recapture brick-and-mortar sales lost over the past few weeks — prepare to reopen portions of their massive store fleets in states like Texas and Georgia, they've been sharing details around the safety measures they plan to put in place to curb disease transmission as much as possible. Some of those measures will depend on the guidelines dictated by local officials; for instance, in certain cities, retail stores can only allow curbside pickup and delivery. Either way, they'll make for a pretty different shopping experience for those who do venture inside.

Below, we're keeping up with major retailers as they announce plans to reopen*, and looking at how they plan to do so in ways that keep shoppers safe.

Gap Inc. announced on May 6 that it plans to reopen 800 of its stores — spanning Old Navy, Athleta, Gap, Banana Republic, Janie and Jack and Intermix — before the end of May, beginning with "small selection" of Texas locations this weekend. Among Gap's health precautions are rigorous cleaning routines, hand sanitizing stations, closure of fitting rooms, supplying employees with masks, Plexiglass partitions at registers, signs encouraging social distancing, reduced hours, monitoring the flow of customers and quarantining returns for 24 hours before putting them back on the floor. The retailer also plans to expand its curbside pickup service, which is so far available at 75 locations. More info here.

Macy's opened 68 stores on May 5 and plans to open another 50 by May 11 in states like Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Tennessee. It expects to open the remainder of its 775 stores by mid-June. Safety restrictions include not offering ear piercings, no touching of makeup samples, no bra fittings, fragrance samples only provided by employees, no alterations, no beauty service. Employees will undergo wellness checks and stores will include sneeze guards at registers and hand sanitizing stations. More info here.

While Nordstrom has yet to reopen any stores, it did announce plans to permanently close (i.e. never reopen) 16 of them. It will gradually reopen the rest in a "phased, market-by-market approach" based on where local officials allow it and using a number of safety precautions including: health screenings for employees, providing masks for employees and customers, creating social distancing, increasing sanitization, fitting room modifications, contactless curbside pickup, shortened hours, pausing "high-touch" services and quarantining returned items. More info here.

Abercrombie & Fitch began reopening stores as of May 8. Safety precautions will include face coverings, employee wellness checks, enhanced cleaning, occupancy limits, plexiglass barriers in some locations, contactless payment options, reducing store hours and quarantining tried-on and returned items. More info here.

As of May 12, American Eagle Outfitters had opened 208 of its 1,000+ American Eagle and Aerie stores in states including TX, SD, ND, AR, MO, NE, FL, AL, TN, SC and GA, with plans to open 600 by the end of May. The measures it has taken to ensure safety include fewer fixtures to promote social distancing, plexiglass barriers, sanitizing stations, free face masks, limiting occupancy, quarantining items after they're tried on and curbside pickup options. More info here.

While Tapestry Inc. — owner of Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman — hasn't yet fully reopened stores, it is offering pickup and/or "virtual shopping" appointments at about 40 U.S. locations. When stores do open more fully, precautions will include increased cleaning, social distancing signage, masks where needed and sanitizing stations. More info here. 

Ulta Beauty will reopen 180 stores by Monday throughout Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. Precautions include face coverings, limiting occupancy, social distancing signage, eliminating testers, increased cleaning and wellness checks for staff. More info here.

Urban Outfitters, Free People and Anthropologie are beginning to reopen stores in states including Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. Safety measures include increased cleaning, social distancing reminders, occupancy limits, reduced hours, masks, cashless checkout, plexiglass guards, new fitting room procedures and contactless pickup at some locations. More info here for Urban Outfitters, here for Free People and here for Anthropologie. 

Blue Mercury announced Tuesday, May 12, via WWD, that it had begun reopening stores in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Ohio for curbside pickup only. The Macy's-owned beauty retailer plans to open curbside services at 115 locations by the end of May, in hopes of starting to fully open up stores by mid-June. Once stores do reopen, associates will wear branded face shields and won't allow testing, plus occupancy will be limited. More info here.

Saks Fifth Avenue began reopening locations in Texas last Friday, May 8, according to the New York Times. Per the retailer's website, health precautions will include mandatory associate face coverings and daily health checks, thorough cleanings multiple times a day, hand sanitizer available throughout the store, extra precautions to ensure all returned merchandise is handled appropriately and reduced occupancy with density monitored throughout the day. There will be additional safety measures for dressing rooms, beauty areas and registers. More info here.

UPDATE, Tuesday May 19:

Sephora will begin to reopen stores May 22, with a number of precautions for beauty shoppers: thorough cleanings throughout the day, taking employees temperatures before and during shifts, masks for all employees, customer occupancy limits, testers for display only, commercially pre-packaged samples, suspension of all hands-on services, hand sanitizer throughout the store, plexiglass barriers at checkout and contactless payment. There will not be curbside pickup. More info here.

Lacoste began reopening its U.S. stores on May 8, as local guidelines allow. Using third-party cleaning professionals, stores will be cleaned and disinfected before opening and mid-day, with checkouts being disinfected between customers. Stores will be equipped with sanitizer, masks, thermometers and gloves; and customers will even be able to scan a QR code to find out how recently the store was cleaned, as well as the store's occupancy. More info here.

PVH has begun reopening its Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein stores in phases. As of May 19, about 180 are open in the U.S. Protocols in stores include extensive use of masks, reduced occupancy, social-distancing measures, added cleaning procedures, changes to fitting room use and enhanced return policies, with employees receiving daily temperature checks. More info here for Tommy and here for Calvin Klein.

After reopening in China and South Korea, Nike is turning its attention to its U.S. stores with daily disinfecting procedures, surface cleaning every two hours, masks and social distancing signage. Shoppers will also be able to have items sent to the fitting room as well as be able to self-checkout on the Nike app, making for an entirely contactless experience. More info here.

Eyewear retailer Moscot expects its New York stores to be open "in the coming days and weeks." For extra safety, there will be frequent cleanings and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and all frames, masks and face shields for employees, plexiglass shields, modified hours and social distancing and mask-wearing requirements for shoppers. More info here. 

UPDATE, Thursday May 21:

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Within the U.S., Giorgio Armani has so far opened stores in Miami and Houston, with 10% of all sales being donated to local charities. Safety measures "will be in line with the highest standards and with the regulatory provisions of each country," according to the company. It also launched a "book an appointment" service for one-on-one shopping. More info here.

Warby Parker began reopening a small number of stores the week of May 11, with modified operations to incorporate social distancing, contactless shopping features, enhanced sanitation protocols and employee & patient health screenings. More info here.

Custom apparel retailer Indochino has reopened 12 of its showrooms with plans to reopen another 15 by the end of May. While the brand already operates with one-on-one appointments, the showrooms will also limit occupancy and hours, require customers and employees to sanitize their hands and wear masks, take employees' temperatures and have employees go through a "sanitization process" between each appointment. More info here.

As of May 18, Swarovski has begun reopening stores in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas in alignment with local guidelines. Safety measures include continuous cleaning, sanitizing all tried-on and returned items and supplying employees and customers with sanitary items such as hand sanitizer, gloves and disinfectant. More info here.

UPDATE, Tuesday May 26:

Burton Snowboards has begun reopening stores to varying degrees; some only offer curbside pickup. Safety procedures include symptom screenings for employees, mandatory facial coverings, hand sanitizer for shoppers, social distancing in stores, minimizing contact for transactions, closed fitting rooms and hourly disinfecting of high touchpoint areas. More info here.

Canadian retailer Lululemon has begun reopening its locations globally, including in North America. Safety precautions include daily health checks for employees, face coverings, occupancy limits, layout updates to promote distancing, closing every other fitting room, cleaning and sanitization, cashless payment and an extended return policy. All in-store activations are on pause. More info here.

UPDATE, Thursday, June 4:

Zero + Maria Cornejo reopened its store in Los Angeles on Melrose Place on Friday, May 29. As of now, it's only open for private appointments. The store plans to adhere to the guidelines set forth by the L.A. department of Public Health and is requiring face masks and providing hand sanitizer. More info here.

Also on Melrose Place, jewelry designer Irene Neuwirth announced plans to reopen her outpost on the street, as well as her shop-in-shop within Capitol's Brentwood location, for private, masked appointments on June 1. More info here. 

Beauty chain Lush has begun reopening its U.S. and Canadian shops with hopes of reopening all of them by early July based on government and CDC recommendations, as well as local staff sentiment. Safety protocols include reduced occupancy, six-feet guidelines, handwashing stations, regular sanitization of surfaces including the cash desk between customers, making new/untouched products available in lieu of those on shelves, mask-wearing and pausing of demos. Buy online, pickup in store is also available. More info here.

Orange County luxury shopping mall South Coast Plaza reopened June 1 with reduced hours and efforts including installing a state-of-the-art air treatment system, implementing social distancing practices and improving protocol for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces frequently throughout the center. The opening of individual boutiques and restaurants will vary. More info here.

Capri Holdings announced a phased reopening plan for its brands: Versace, Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo. As of May, 28, less than 15% of 455 stores in the Americas have reopened; Capri expects the rest to open by early July. Safety measures will vary by local ordinances but will include increased cleaning and sanitization, modified hours, PPE for employees and customers, limiting occupancy, social-distancing signage, health screenings for employees and encouraging contactless payment. More info for Versace here, Michael Kors here and Jimmy Choo here.

Levi's is beginning to reopen its stores on a case-by-case basis, offering curbside pickup at some locations. Stores will adhere to local cleaning and social distancing recommendations and employees both full-time and hourly will get paid sick leave if they need to stay home. More info here.

L.A.'s Beverly Center reopened Friday May 29, with a few changes including reduced hours, regular cleaning/disinfecting, encouraging mask use, social-distancing signage and closing water fountains. It's also providing curbside pickup for select retailers and restaurants and even allowing mall walkers an hour to themselves before opening hours. More info here.

UPDATE, Tuesday, June 23:

A number of New York retail flagships are reopening this week.

Despite parent company Neiman Marcus's bankruptcy, Bergdorf Goodman has reopened in New York City with an even more luxurious shopping experience than usual: Shoppers can book private appointments where a sales associate will guide them through the store; virtual appointments are available as well. More info here.

Nordstrom is reopening its New York flagship, men's store, Nordstrom Racks and Nordstrom Local locations on Wednesday, June 24. It's making safety updates to stores including conducting health screenings for staff, providing masks for staff and customers, instituting occupancy limits, increasing cleaning and sanitation, modifying fitting rooms, quarantining returned products, offering curbside services and operating with reduced hours. More info here.

Saks Fifth Avenue is reopening its flagship on, yes, Fifth Avenue Wednesday, June 24. According to WWD, handrails are being disinfected by ultraviolet light; elevators will be limited to pregnant, handicapped or elderly shoppers; the beauty floor will be contact-free; masks will be provided; occupancy will be limited and spa rooms will be closed. More info here.

*Please note that some of these re-openings may have been impacted or delayed by recent instances of looting and civil unrest.

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