Chicago Apple StoreSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • The WSJ has published a new video.
  • It shows how Apple has lead the way in closing its retail stores in the U.S.
  • It also shows how Apple's closures can gauge the U.S. extent of the pandemic.

A new WSJ video has revealed how watching Apple and its store closures can show the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.

WSJ says it has tracked store closures, case data, and official lockdown measures. Revealing how Apple has been one of the first retailers to close its stores, specifically in the United States.

As noted in the video, Apple is in a very fortunate position financially, whereby it doesn't need to rely on its stores being open to keep turning a profit during the crisis. Meaning Apple can afford to be a bit more liberal in the early closing of its stores if it thinks there is a risk. As the video notes, however, wherever Apple has closed stores, other retailers seem to have followed.

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The video says that "in most instances" Apple's early shutdowns proved to be an indicator of rising individual cases, other stores closing, and government-mandated measures. Analyst Gene Munster also expressed his surprise at how much other companies had followed Apple's lead.

Deciding to close its stores comes down to a few factors, says WSJ. Case numbers, positivity rates, hospital capacity, asymptomatic testing, and more. Apple has even contacted health departments to request data that isn't publicly available.

As the video notes, Apple has reclosed many stores that were previously reopened in the U.S., including in Texas, Florida, California, and more. Where Apple has reclosed stores, COVID-19 cases have usually risen.