US clothing retailer Urban Outfitters says it has seen a decline in store traffic and sales in areas heavily impacted by Covid-19 over the course of the past week, such as Milan, Italy and Seattle, Washington, as well as a few additional locations.

In a statement today (11 March), Urban Outfitters provides an update on current business since its last earnings call on 3 March and ahead of management's participation at the BofA Securities Consumer & Retail Technology Conference 2020.

Despite the fall in store traffic and sales in areas "heavily impacted" by the coronavirus outbreak, the retailer says it has not seen a significant impact to stores in other locations or to its digital channel.  

It adds: "Due to the uncertainty around the spread of Covid-19 in North America and Europe, at this time, we cannot forecast the extent to which Covid-19 will impact our business in the first quarter."

Last week, Urban Outfitters reported a drop in fourth-quarter earnings as net income for the three months ended 31 January fell to US$19.54m from $86.41m in the prior-year period. Adjusted net income was $49.07m, compared to $90.24m last year.

The company did, however, report record fourth-quarter sales as total company net sales for the three months increased 3.6% over the same period last year to $1.17bn. Comparable retail segment net sales rose by 4%, driven by growth in the digital channel, partially offset by negative retail store sales. 

Urban Outfitters operates a portfolio of global consumer brands comprised of Anthropologie, BHLDN, Free People, Terrain, Urban Outfitters and Nuuly brands.

Several brands and retailers have expressed concern in recent weeks over the impact coronavirus is likely to have on sales in the short-term, but also supply-chain disruption.

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