Burberry, the luxury retailer famous for its coats, has shut 24 of its 64 stores in mainland China as fears over a growing coronavirus outbreak continue to grip the country.
The company said it was taking action to ensure that staff remained safe. But it warned investors that the outbreak was having a “material negative effect” on demand for luxury products.
Burberry said it supported efforts by the Chinese government to contain the virus. It also told shareholders that the effects on full-year financial results would be limited as the period is almost over.
The business also relies on strong sales to Chinese tourists in Europe, and elsewhere. It said these sales have so far held up better, “but given widening travel restrictions, we anticipate these to worsen over the coming weeks”.
“In the meantime, we are taking mitigating actions and every precaution to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of our employees. We are extremely grateful for the incredible effort of our teams and our immediate thoughts are with the people directly impacted by this global health emergency.”
It is not the first time that Burberry has been hit by major events in the region in the last 12 months.
More than 630 people are thought to have died in China’s coronavirus outbreak, authorities said on Friday. On Thursday a doctor who was among the first to sound the alarm on the deadly virus succumbed to the illness.
Dr Li Wenliang, 34, had been in trouble with China’s hard-line authorities for “spreading rumours” about the virus in December.
Meanwhile, Japan announced it had identified a further 41 cases of the virus.