Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) will shutter its Chunghsiao East Road store for three days starting today to completely disinfect the entire facility, a company official said last night.
"Our traffic has gone down by 90 percent after two consumers and one Sogo cashier reportedly suffered from SARS-like symptons earlier this week," said Lee Kuang-rong (李光榮), Sogo vice president. "We hope the disinfection move will help us regain consumer confidence in Sogo and thereby boost our sales."
The store, a mecca for Taipei shoppers, made the move of its own accord after news reports alleged the store was suspected of having been involved in the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) earlier this week.
The news has poured cold water on the stores' Mothers' Day plan.
"We were originally expecting to make around NT$40 million to NT$50 million in sales each day in the run up to Mothers' Day," Lee said. "But we barely hit NT$10 million daily over the last three days. This is the worst turnover we've ever seen since we opened in 1987."
On Tuesday a Pacific Sogo cashier reportedly fell ill with SARS, sending 175 other store employees into home quarantine. To date, the 175 staff have shown no signs of SARS symptoms, Lee said.
Top brass decided to address the issue now, rather than later. Otherwise "we may be forced to close."
"We are not afraid of SARS, but we are afraid of rumor-mongering," Lee said.