Wires

Nordstrom to close stores in U.S., Canada, withdraws 2020 outlook due to coronavirus

coronavirus@

March 16 (Reuters) - Apparel retailer Nordstrom Inc on Monday withdrew its fiscal 2020 forecast and said it would close stores in the United States and Canada for two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said it would close stores, including Nordstrom full-line, Nordstrom Rack and Trunk Club clubhouses, effective March 17, in an effort to arrest the spread of the virus.

It will provide pay and benefits to its store employees during the period, Nordstrom said.

The Seattle-based retailer also suspended share repurchases as part of a plan to further cut its expenses.

"While February sales were in-line with expectations, the company experienced a broad-based deceleration in customer demand over the past couple of weeks, particularly in markets most affected by the virus," Nordstrom said.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)