Gold and diamonds lose luster, but garden supply sales shine

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A woman reacts as she is sprayed with disinfectant inside a chamber as a precaution against the new coronavirus outbreak before entering a shopping mall in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, June 9, 2020. As Indonesia's overall virus caseload continues to rise, the capital city has moved to restore normalcy by lifting some restrictions this week, saying that the spread of the virus in the city of 11 million has slowed after peaking in mid-April. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Tuesday related to the national and global response, the work place and the spread of the virus.

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LOSING LUSTER: The coronavirus pandemic has forced the closure of thousands of retail locations and altered consumer behavior dramatically. That combination has led to a very rough stretch for companies that glitter.

— The path of the COVID-19 pandemic was traced fairly closely by the closure of Tiffany & Co. stores across the globe. Revenue in the Asia-Pacific down tumbled 46% during its most recent quarter, then in Europe, by 40%, then in the Americas, by 45%. The famed jeweler swung to a $105 million operating loss.

However in China, where the pandemic began, sales in April rose 30% as cities recovered, and by 90% in May. The rebound in sales may not be as strong elsewhere, according to Neil Saunders, the managing director of GlobalData Retail, because economic growth has been so much stronger in China for years.

— Signet Jewelers, the parent company of such brands as Zales and Jared, said it is permanently closing about 400 stores after reporting slumping sales in three-month period that ended May 2. With all of its stores closed because of the pandemic, same-store sales at Signet Jewelers slid 38.9% in its first quarter. Overall revenue slumped 40.5%, offset somewhat by a 6.7% increase in online sales. A portion of those online activity is being generated by virtual sales, CEO Gina Drosos told The Associated Press. Sales people have done more than 100,000 virtual consultations online since March 23. The company operates more than 3,000 stores worldwide and so far nearly 1,100 have reopened.

— Movado Group's first-quarter sales declined 52.5%. It has reopened 14 of its 47 stores in North America and expects all but six will open by the middle of next week.

RETAIL ELSEWHERE: Cities hardest hit by the virus have begun to reopen, but restrictions are still in place and more bankruptcies are all but certain.