Ikea shuts all stores in China as coronavirus spreads

Ikea shuts all stores in China as coronavirus spreads
File photo of an Ikea store in China. Photo: AP Photo
After halting all business trips to mainland China, Swedish furniture giant Ikea said it had closed all its 30 stores in the country until further notice.

The company said it had “temporarily closed all of the 30 stores in mainland China until further notice, effective from January 30th”.

Ikea announced on Wednesday that it had already closed half of its stores in the country, after first announcing last week the closure of its store in Wuhan, where the outbreak of the new coronavirus started in late 2019.

The some 14,000 staff working for Ikea in China were “asked to stay at home until further notice with paid leave”, Ikea said.

The toll from the viral epidemic rose to 170 deaths on Thursday and about 7,700 confirmed cases.

Outside China, Macau and Hong Kong there have been at least 80 infections reported.

The Ingka group, which runs 90 percent of all Ikea stores globally, closed its store in Wuhan, where the first cases of the coronavirus were discovered, a week ago and has since also banned business trips to and from the country.

Ikea said it was working with authorities in the cities and regions where it operates and was monitoring the situation closely, and would “act in accordance with their recommendations as this situation is evolving”.

The outbreak of the coronavirus is feared to have a serious impact on the global economy, with air traffic already disrupted and industrial production, international trade and tourism affected.


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