Columbia Sportswear shared its store reopening plans, with the details aligning with many retail strategies of today: more cleaning, more monitoring, fewer people.
The apparel and footwear retailer shuttered its doors in March to help slow the spread of COVID-19, and it opened 30 stores in 10 states today, recalling more than 250 furloughed associates.
Stores will follow social distancing guidelines, including require face coverings for employees, extending restocking for items tried on in fitting rooms to 24 hours, and cleaning fitting rooms in between uses. Associates who interact directly with customers will also be wearing gloves.
Fixtures are being rearranged to provide more space within stores, and Plexiglas has been installed at many registers to protect employees and customers. Stores will be sanitized prior to opening, with checkout registers and surfaces cleaned in between uses.
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In a statement posted online, said Tim Boyle, Columbia chairman, president and CEO, said the company is also encouraging its customers to use contactless payments like Apple and Google Pay when possible.
Columbia reopened one of its branded stores in Nebraska last week, which it described as a success. As of Dec. 31, 2019, it operated 122 outlet retail stores and 21 branded retail stores in the United States.
“We are excited to be opening our stores, helping our consumers gear up to head outdoors, and welcoming our retail employees back to work,” said Boyle. “I want to thank our distribution center and call center employees who came to work every day under difficult circumstances. We could not have kept our online business working without them.”
“We still have a long way to go with COVID-19,” he added. “Opening stores, enjoying the great outdoors, and helping each other shows there is light at the end of the tunnel and that we are truly tougher together.”