Apple looks to reopen some stores in April: report

Apple informed employees that some of its retail stores could reopen as early as the first half of April, according to Bloomberg.

A memo from Apple’s SVP of People and Retail Deirdre O’Brien, obtained by Bloomberg, disclosed that potential reopenings of retail stores located outside of Greater China would happen on a staggered basis, depending on conditions of each local community.

The iPhone maker closed all of its retail stores outside of Greater China indefinitely earlier this month in efforts to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic affecting the globe. Initially, Apple had put a timeline of at least March 27 for dureation of store closures. Apple reopened its stores in China earlier this month, after it had previously closed them, in a similar move to shut retail doors as the country tried to clamp down on the virus outbreak.

RELATED: AT&T latest carrier to close retail stores in COVID-19 response

The memo also noted that Apple is extending remote work options for all employees through at least April 5, after which it will reevaluate the arrangements on a weekly basis, determined by location.  

Apple made the decision to temporarily shutter retail stores early on in response to the virus. Major wireless carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, collectively have closed thousands of company-owned branded retail stores.

In other Apple-related news, Foxconn and Wistron have halted all production at their plants in India, according to Bloomberg, after the country's prime minister ordered a three-week nationwide lockdown of the country’s 1.3 billion people in hopes of stemming the COVID-19 crisis.

Foxconn, which manufactures primarily older iPhone models in India, told the news outlet that operations are suspended until April 14, though neither company disclosed what products might be impacted.

In the U.S., as more people stay home and business close to adhere to social distancing guidelines, analysts at LightShed Partners last week indicated Apple could be in for an ugly Q2.

RELATED: Big 4 could see device sales plummet

The firm anticipated an annual decline in the U.S. of more than 8 million postpaid device units sold in Q2 – where it says Apple holds more than a 50% share. It expects sales of prepaid devices to drop by more than 5 million units, but indicated that category doesn't impact Apple as heavily. 

“China may be recovering, but the trajectory of smartphone sales in Europe is likely to look similar to the United States,” wrote the LightShed’s Walter Piecyk and Joe Galone in a March 20 research note. “Less than 30 million iPhones sold in FQ3 seems more realistic than the current consensus estimate of 36 million iPhones sold.”

That suggests iPhone revenue could take more than a $5 billion hit, but potentially partially offset if the growing number of remote workers purchase more Mac, iPad and AirPods, according to LightShed.