Apple Stores in China were closed on February 1st in response to the coronavirus, with the company stating that they would remain so through February 9. Store webpages say that they will re-open on Monday, but a memo to local staff from retail and people head Deidre O’Brien suggests this is now unlikely.

The Chinese government had suggested February 10 as the date on which businesses would resume operations, but it appears Apple may take a two-stage approach…

MacGeneration has seen the memo, reproduced in full below. It states that while Apple is working to re-open its offices, things may take longer for stores.

Apple’s Retail Stores are actively working to reopen at a date that will be determined next week. Additional cleaning, health protocols and local restrictions around public spaces will factor into this decision. Retail teams will receive updates from their managers on the opening date for their store and on other supportive steps we are taking.

With a decision to be made in the working week commencing February 10, that would appear to rule out the possibility of stores re-opening on that date.

The memo goes on to say that Apple expects the process of resuming work to be a gradual one.

As we work together to gradually resume work over the next few weeks, your well-being is our first priority. We are deeply grateful to everyone for facing this challenging period with the utmost empathy and understanding.

CEO Tim Cook had previously stated that the coronavirus outbreak creates ‘uncertainty’ for the company, with Apple choosing to forecast a wider-than-usual guidance range for the current quarter.

The store closures, and those of other outlets for Apple products, will hit sales in China, but the bigger impact is likely to be on production. Although Apple’s key suppliers are currently stating that they plan to resume operations on February 10 – with extraordinary measures being implemented to achieve it – some doubt that this will be the case or that desired production levels will be achieved.

Noted Apple analyst Ming Chi-Kuo, who has good supply-chain sources, suggests that iPhone production may be 10% down in the current quarter and that the outlook for the following quarter is unclear.

You can read the full memo from Deidre O’Brien below. Note that the version seen by MacG is a French one, and this is a translation, so the wording may not be exact.

Dear team,

We keep ourselves closely informed of news from China and other regions most affected by the coronavirus. Our thoughts are with those directly affected by the virus and those who work tirelessly to care for, study and control what the World Health Organization, the United States and other governments are now calling urgent matters. public health.

Apple members are a family, and I know everyone wants to know more about our global work to support our employees, partners and customers. The best way to keep up to date with the latest information is to go to the coronavirus page we created on the People site. We encourage each of you to consult it regularly starting today.

A team of experts is working within Apple to help us overcome this difficult situation. We are in close contact with our employees from Hubei Province to whom we offer our assistance, and have undertaken a thorough, regular and diligent cleaning of our stores and offices.

I would like to share with you the additional initiatives that we have taken after consultation with experts in health policy, and based on the latest government recommendations.

As a precaution, all headquarters offices, Apple Stores and Contact Centers in mainland China will be closed from February 2 to 9. In addition to the restrictions in terms of professional travel to and from China, we now ask each employee returning from China, or those who returned in the past 14 days, to work from their home for 14 days depending on the date of their arrival. As we previously announced, Apple is making donations to support frontline efforts. If you wish to donate on your own, you can do so on the Employee Donation Portal.

We want to be a resource available to all Apple employees around the world. Please contact your People Business Partner, People Support or your manager if you have questions or concerns regarding your health or that of your loved ones. Apple delivers the best when we are united, and this is one of the times we can show the strength of our global community.


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Ben Lovejoy

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