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Carmakers adjust to virus turmoil; Uniqlo, Burberry take hit

CHINA. In this July 16, 2015, file photo, Chinese women take a selfie outside the Uniqlo flagship store in Beijing. (AP)

BEIJING -- Automakers are considering whether to reopen factory lines in China and counting the costs from the virus outbreak in China, while Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo reports half its shops in China are closed.

Here is a look at the latest developments on how the virus is affecting global business:

AUTOMAKERS: Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co. said Friday that sales in China in January by the company and its local partners fell 11.8 percent from a year earlier to 118,143 vehicles due to the virus outbreak and the extension of the Lunar New Year holiday. Nissan said earlier it was considering reopening most of its factories in China on Monday but would wait until at least February 14 for facilities in and around Wuhan, the city at the center of the outbreak. Toyota said it was keeping its factories in China closed for an extra week, through Feb. 16, and will decide then whether to resume production. Toyota Motor Corp. has 12 plants in China, including four vehicle assembly plants. Honda Motor Co. said its three auto-assembly plants in Wuhan would stay closed through February 13.

RETAILING: Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo Co. said it has closed 350 stores, or about half, of its 750 stores in China, to comply with shutdowns of public transportation and closures of malls. Parent company Fast Retailing says about 20 percent of its sales come from China. British firm Burberry, which gets about 40 percent of its revenue from China, says the impact has been significant. It shut 24 of 64 stores in China, and told the FT footfall had dropped as much as 80 percent. The impact in Hong Kong is bigger than from the protests, which had halved sales there in the last quarter.

COSMETICS: L'Oreal joined the growing list of beauty product brands expressing concern over the potential blow to sales due to travel restrictions that are vastly reducing demand from travels shopping at duty free shops. The company said it expected a “temporary impact” on Asia's beauty market, but that past experience suggests that "after a period of disturbance, consumption resumes stronger than before." (AP)


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