Apple will close all of its stores around the world, except for those in China, until the end of March in an effort to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

Employees at the company's 460 stores will continue to receive normal pay, the company said.

Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, wrote that stores would reopen on March 27, in a letter posted on the company's website.

READ MORE:
Coronavirus: Everyone travelling to NZ from overseas to self-isolate
Coronavirus: New Zealand a safe haven for super wealthy arriving in private jets
'Anything can happen': How to cope with coronavirus anxiety
Coronavirus: Pasifika Festival cancelled

Advertisement

"The most effective way to minimise risk of the virus's transmission is to reduce density and maximise social distance," Cook wrote in the letter.

The company's stores consistently rank number one in sales per square foot, making them the most valuable retail spaces on earth.

In 2019, Apple's website and physical stores accounted for 31pc of its total revenue for the financial year, amounting to more than $81bn.

Operating nearly 460 locations across the world outside of China, the company has about 270 stores in the US alone.

Apple had earlier shuttered its stores in Italy and Spain as the Europe became the centre of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The technology company has also encouraged staff at its Cupertino headquarters to work from home where possible, while it has implemented new health screenings and temperature checks at its offices worldwide.

So far, Apple has $15m to help treat those who are sick and to help lessen the economic and community impacts of the pandemic.

Mr Cook closed his letter by thanking "the heroic first responders, doctors, nurses, researchers, public health experts and public servants" working to fight the pandemic.

Advertisement
A deserted Apple store in Spain. Photo / Getty Images
A deserted Apple store in Spain. Photo / Getty Images

Apple was one of the first companies to disclose the virus's impact on its financials, saying last month that it will no longer meet its March quarter guidance range of $63bn to $67bn.

Spearheaded by Angela Ahrendts, the former Burberry chief executive that Apple poached in 2014 to be its senior vice president of retail, Apple has acquired some of the most prominent shopping locations in the world.

These include Covent Garden in London, Fifth Avenue in New York, and the Apple Piazza Liberty in Milan

Apple was one of the first companies to disclose the virus's impact on its financials, saying last month that it will no longer meet its March quarter guidance range of $63 billion to $67 billion.

Cook sent a memo to employees about a week ago offering staff at most of its global offices the ability to work from home.

At the time, he called the outbreak an "unprecedented event" and a "challenging moment".

As a US-based technology company that builds the vast majority of its products via a China supply chain, Apple has been uniquely impacted by Covid-19.

It's supply chain had been set back by weeks with factory closures, and products like the iPhone and iPad Pro have seen constraints in meeting orders.

On Friday, Apple said it would hold its annual conference for software developers online, scrapping a June gathering that normally brings thousands of people together in San Jose, California.

It didn't say how its two week closure of most stores would further impact revenue.

The stock has declined 5.3pc this year, compared with the Nasdaq Composite Index's 12pc slump.

- Telegraph