The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Wednesday related to the national and global response, the work place and the spread of the virus.
RETAIL STRUGGLES: Capri Holdings, which runs the Versace, Jimmy Choo and Michael Kors brands, anticipates its fiscal first-quarter revenue will be down about 70% compared with the prior-year period. The company blamed the forecast on store closures, the gradual recovery in revenue as stores reopen and low wholesale shipments.
Capri says approximately 70% of its 455 retail stores in the Americas region are open. It expects to open the vast majority of the remaining stores by the end of the second quarter. Capri has 98% of its stores open in the Asia and EMEA regions.
NPC International, the country’s largest franchisee of Pizza Hut and Wendy’s restaurants, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The Leawood, Kansas, company, which employs 36,000 workers in 30 states and the District of Columbia, expects to keep its 1,600-plus locations open while it works to trim debt and negotiate with its landlords.
— Egypt on Wednesday reopened its airports, the Egyptian museum and the famed Giza Pyramids in Cairo for the first time in more than three months.
EgyptAir said around 2,000 passengers left the Cairo international airport on 14 international flights, the first regular flights since the coronavirus outbreak.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said around two dozen museums and tourist sites reopened Wednesday. The sites include the Egyptian museum, the Giza Pyramids, the Citadel of Saladin in Cairo, the ancient temple of Karnak and the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor.
Egypt ’s economy depends heavily on tourism, which accounts for some 12% of the gross domestic product.
— Germany is easing restrictions on travellers from up to 11 countries outside the European Union — but not the full list recommended by the EU.
The Interior Ministry said that, as of Thursday, people from Australia, Georgia, Canada, Montenegro, New Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay will be able to enter without restrictions. That will also apply to Japan, South Korea and China — but only if those countries also allow people from Germany to enter.
— Regional airports across Greece, including on top tourist destination islands, began accepting direct international flights again on Wednesday.
International travellers have been able to fly into Greece since June 15, but only to Athens or Thessaloniki. Starting Wednesday, tourists can fly directly to Greek islands and other airports in the mainland.
— Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea reopened Wednesday after being closed for four months.
The two parks near Tokyo are run by Oriental Land. New guidelines include advance online ticket booking and limiting the number of entrants in the parks.
The Walt Disney Co. is planning to open its parks in Florida later this month. It has paused plans to open its parks in California.
— United Airlines said Wednesday that it will add more flights in August and operate about 40% of the schedule it flew in the prior-year period. That’s up from 30% in July and 15% in June.
CEO Scott Kirby told The Associated Press that demand is rising among people wanting to visit family, friends, beaches and mountains. But typical tourist destinations such as Las Vegas and Orlando are still lagging, and business travel is “very, very depressed,” Kirby said. So is international travel. United plans to fly 52% of its year-ago domestic schedule in August, but only 25% of its previous international flights.
— American Airlines expects its long-haul international capacity in summer 2021 to remain 25% lower than in summer 2019. It will drop five “underperforming” routes from Los Angeles including Hong Kong and Beijing, plus three routes apiece from Philadelphia and Charlotte, North Carolina.
— Lebanon’s only international airport has reopened following a more than three-month shutdown.
Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport will operate at 10% capacity at first, bringing in around 2,000 travellers a day. The first flight to arrive was an Emirates flight from Dubai. Other flights are set to arrive from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, London and Paris, according to the arrivals’ schedule.
Lebanon is hoping that the reopening of the airport will help bring in hard currency to prop up the economy.
CENTRAL GOVERNMENTS & BANKS:
— Germany ’s finance minister says businesses have a “moral obligation” to pass a temporary cut in value-added tax on to customers.
The cut, a centerpiece of a 130 billion-euro ($146 billion) stimulus package aimed at helping pull the economy out of the coronavirus crisis, takes effect for six months starting Wednesday.
The main value-added tax rate was cut to 16% from 19%, and the reduced rate applied to groceries and some other everyday items to 5% from 7%.
Officials are keen to ensure that businesses actually cut prices to encourage buying.
MARKETS: Stocks ended mixed on Wall Street Wednesday, with technology stocks pushing the Nasdaq to a record high.
PET CARE: Petco is offering new online dog training courses for pet owners while they’re stuck at home. The courses range from puppy and adult basics to positive reinforcement orientation sessions. The company is also providing various ways for customers to purchase their pet supplies, including in-store, online and through their app.
The Associated Press