World News

Haagen-Dazs closes about half of Greater China stores on coronavirus fears

(Reuters) – General Mills Inc <GIS.N> said on Tuesday nearly half of its Haagen-Dazs ice-cream shops in Greater China had been temporarily closed, amid the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the world’s second biggest economy.

The epidemic, which has claimed nearly 1,900 lives, has forced companies with significant exposure to China to temporarily shut stores. Some have also warned of a hit to their earnings.

General Mills said it could not quantify the impact of the outbreak on its fiscal 2020 results at the time, although it reaffirmed its forecast for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2020.

The Greater China region accounts for about 4% of the company’s net sales, with Haagen-Dazs shops and other foodservice outlets making up about 40% of that.

The Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company said Haagen-Dazs stores that remained open were operating under severely restricted hours.

The company operated 525 Haagen-Dazs ice-cream parlors and franchised 365 more outside of the United States and Canada, as of May 26, according to a regulatory filing

(Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)