Will Retail Suffer from SARS?

Apr 14, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

US retailers may begin feeling the affect of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in the near future.

The deadly form of pneumonia has rocked Southeast Asia and it is migrating to the US and other parts of the globe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 166 people in the US were diagnosed with SARS as of Thursday last week.

Reuters reports the CDC web site will be updated with “specific information for schools and for workplaces to ensure that, should an individual with SARS inadvertently go to the school or the workplace, that we have appropriate steps in place to manage those events.”

There is also concern that the disease’s progression in Asia may affect the US retail apparel market. Textile factory workers are not immune to SARS and travel between merchants and suppliers is being severely limited due to concerns about spreading the virus.

Moderator’s Comment: How big a concern should SARS
be for US retailers? What should retailers be doing to get prepared?

Quarantined shoppers don’t get out to go the store. Quarantined
workers wouldn’t be there to help them even if they did. The apparel industry
situation is worth watching. Will SARS cause a shift from Asia to other parts
of the world to handle America’s clothing production?
Anderson – Moderator

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