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EXCLUSIVE-Ross Stores tells vendors it will cancel merchandise orders through mid-June

By Melissa Fares

By Melissa Fares

March 26 (Reuters) - Ross Stores Inc said in a letter to vendors on Thursday it would cancel all merchandise purchase orders through June 18 due to the impact the coronavirus has had on its business.

"This is the first time in our history that we are unable to deliver exceptional merchandise to our customers," the memo, which was reviewed by Reuters, reads.

The Dublin, California-based discount store operator said it would also extend payment terms on all existing merchandise payables by 90 days.

A company spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Last week, Ross Stores announced it would temporarily close all Ross Dress for Less and dd’s DISCOUNTS locations throughout the U.S. from March 20 through April 3. A slew of other hard-hit, "non-essential" retailers also have been forced to shutter shops, including Macy's Inc, Nordstrom Inc and Nike Inc <NKE.N.

Almost 489,000 people have been infected by the coronavirus globally and over 22,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

(Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York; editing by Edward Tobin)