Hanes Mall stores closed

Many stores in Hanes Mall, including Dave & Buster’s, were closed, Thursday, in response to novel coronavirus concerns.

The virus that causes COVID-19 has not led Hanes Mall officials to temporarily cease operations — yet.

But it could be just a matter of time after anchors Belk and J.C. Penney closed all of their stores — Belk until March 30 and J.C. Penney until April 2.

Especially considering rival Simon Property Group closed all of its shopping centers through at least March 29, including Carolina Premium Outlets in Smithfield, Charlotte Premium Outlets, Concord Mills and SouthPark in Charlotte. Operators of the Westfield and Taubman mall chains followed Thursday.

“Hanes Mall is home to a number of national, regional and locally owned businesses, and we must consider the impact of every decision we make,” said Sarah Kotelnicki, the mall’s marketing director. “Mall hours will remain unchanged.

“However, certain retailers will follow their own corporate or owner guidelines for temporary closures and modified operating hours.”

Macy’s closed all stores through March 31, including what items remain in its Hanes Mall space where it has been conducting the final phases of a going-out-of-business sale.

The other Hanes Mall anchor, Dillard’s, reduced its shopping hours to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and to noon to 6 p.m. Sundays.

The number of reported COVID-19 cases in North Carolina increased Saturday to at least 184, including eight in Forsyth County, seven in Guilford County, two each in Alamance and Watauga counties and one in Davidson County. Those figures are according to reports from county health departments and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

On March 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended lowering public gatherings in a single setting to no more than 50 individuals for the next eight weeks. The latest recommendation, made Monday, was for no more than 10 individuals for the next 15 days.

Hanes Mall’s unofficial fifth anchor, Dave and Buster’s, has closed its restaurant and arcade facility, along with those in Cary, Charlotte and Pineville.

The closing comes after N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday ordered the closing of dine-in services at bars and restaurants statewide.

Other retailers hit

Several other non-Hanes Mall retailers announced closing or shortened shopping hours plans.

Bookmarks’ independent bookstore shut the doors to its downtown store Monday. The bookstore is offering curbside pickup from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Customers should call 336-747-1471, ext. 1000, to order or visit the website at www.bookmarksnc.org.

Thruway Shopping Center tenant Lululemon said Monday it would open from noon to 6 p.m. through March 27, but has since opted to close until that date. Other Thruway tenants J Crew (March 28) and New Balance (March 27) also have closed stores.

Party City is closed through March 31.

In the Hanes Point Shopping Center, Target has reduced its hours to 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., while Ulta Beauty is closed until March 31. Kohl’s is closed through April 1, Shoe Carnival through April 2 and Five Below through March 31.

Bed Bath & Beyond has closed 800 stores, including one each in Burlington and Greensboro, but kept open 700 “essential” stores that sell health and personal care products. The Winston-Salem store at 1020 Hanes Mall Blvd. is in the open category from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Target said Thursday it is temporarily raising its minimum wage by $2 an hour through at least May 2, as well as giving bonuses of up to $1,500 to thousands of “team leader” employees.

Home Depot has changed its closing hours to 6 p.m. from a range of 9-10 p.m. while its opening hours remain the same. All hourly Home Depot full-time employees will now receive an additional 80 hours of paid sick or personal time, and part-time hourly employees will receive an additional 40 hours of paid sick or personal time.

Lowe’s Home Improvement stores, starting Monday, will close at 8:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and at 7 p.m. Sundays.

HomeGoods, Marshalls and TJMaxx, all owned by same company, are closed through at least April 1.

All Cato-affiliated stores — Cato, It’s Fashion, It’s Fashion Metro and Versona — are closed through at least April 1.

GameStop is open from noon to 8 p.m., with those hours in effect until at least March 29. It is offering curbside service.

Staples’ hours are now 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., while Walgreens’ new hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Apple has closed its store at Friendly Center in Greensboro, initially through March 27, but now indefinitely.

Best Buy is moving to curbside pickup service.

AT&T has closed more than 40% of its company-owned retail stores nationwide, but has not indicated which yet. It has four stores in Winston-Salem, including at Hanes Mall. Stores that remain open will operate from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturday, but be closed on Sunday.

Amazon adjusts

Business Insider reported Tuesday that Amazon was suspending shipments of all nonessential products to its warehouses.

Amazon is building a 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Kernersville that is projected to have 1,000 employees at full capacity. Spokeswoman Rachael Lighty said Thursday that “construction continues as planned.”

The online retailer said in a note to suppliers and vendors that it is prioritizing medical supplies, household staples, and other high-demand products to its warehouses through April 5.

The change only affects shipments to Amazon’s warehouses, not the last-mile deliveries to consumers.

“We are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock and deliver these products to customers,” the message read.

Amazon also said it plans to hire about 100,000 full- and part-time fulfillment center employees nationwide to help it “with a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year.”

That includes 2,000 in North Carolina, primarily in Charlotte and the Triangle, but also 50 jobs at its delivery hub in Colfax.

In October, Amazon opened its first Triad delivery station in a 66,000-square-foot building at 7929 National Service Road with “hundreds of part- and full-time” workers already in place. The property has a Colfax address but is in the High Point city limits.

“We also know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis,” Dave Clark, senior vice president of worldwide operations, said in a blog posted Monday.

“We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back.”

Amazon also said it was raising hourly wages by $2 through April 30.

Amazon affiliate Whole Foods will close two hours early, operating from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It will open at 7 a.m. exclusively to consumers ages 60 and older — those considered at high risk to become infected by COVID-19.

Grocers change hours

The earlier closing hours for Target and Whole Foods are being followed by other grocery chains with stores in the Triad.

Other grocers’ store hours are:

  • Aldi: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Fresh Market: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; it is opening an hour early only for customers ages 60 and older, and other high-risk individuals.
  • Harris Teeter is closing nightly at 8.
  • Lidl: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Lowes Foods: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Publix: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It will open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday only for customers ages 60 and older, and other high-risk individuals.
  • Sam’s Club: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.
  • Trader Joe’s: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • WalMart Neighborhood Market: 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. It will open at 6 a.m. on Tuesdays through April 28 only for customers ages 60 and older, and other high-risk individuals.

Besides paper products, WalMart has placed temporarily limits on purchasing amounts of milk, eggs, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, water, diapers, wipes, formula and baby food.

The retailer said Thursday it plans to hire up to 150,000 employees through May 31 for its stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers. Most jobs will start as temporary at first, “but many will convert to permanent roles over time.” Applicants are asked to go to careers.walmart.com.

rcraver@wsjournal.com

336-727-7376

@rcraverWSJ

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