March 17, 2020 / 6:49 PM / 13 days ago

UPDATE 1-Tiffany & Co to temporarily shut several stores, cuts hours at others

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NEW YORK, March 17 (Reuters) - Luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co said on Tuesday it would temporarily close several stores, including its Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York, and reduce working hours at other outlets, in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Also on Tuesday, Macy's Inc, L Brands Inc, Ralph Lauren and American Eagle Outfitters announced temporary store closures, joining a spate of retailers, including Nike Inc and Nordstrom Inc, which have made similar announcements in recent days.

There are now more coronavirus cases and deaths outside mainland China, the initial epicenter of the outbreak, than inside, with more than 182,000 cases worldwide and over 7,100 deaths.

The tally of confirmed cases in the U.S. has multiplied in recent weeks, now surpassing 4,300, with more than 80 deaths.

It is widely expected to hit retail sales as shoppers stay home to avoid catching the highly contagious COVID-19 respiratory illness that the virus causes.

In November, French luxury goods maker LVMH agreed to buy Tiffany for $16.2 billion, a deal that could help boost the U.S. jeweler's business.

Founded in New York in 1837 and known for its signature robin's egg blue packaging, the brand is one of the best-known names in the sector, but has struggled to win over younger shoppers in recent years.

Tiffany is expected to report quarterly earnings on Friday.

Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York and Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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