A majority of Burberry's stores in its European and American markets have closed as high streets have been hit in the bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the business said.

More than 60% of stores in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa, and 85% of those in the Americas are shut as the battle against the virus continues.

In an earlier-than-expected trading update which was brought forward because of the outbreak, Burberry warned that its in-store sales were likely to take a 30% hit from the virus in the fourth quarter of the year.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Primark closes stores

Meanwhile, footfall in the stores that are still open is "very weak" while opening hours have been slashed.

Since January 24, sales have deteriorated by around 40% to 50%, Burberry revealed.

"Since our February update, the material negative effect of Covid-19 on luxury demand has intensified and is now impacting the industry in all regions," said chief executive Marco Gobbetti.

The retailer warned investors that it was expecting to close more stores in coming days.

However, there is some good news out of China, where most of its sites have reopened.

"Our primary concern is the global health emergency and we continue to take every precaution to help prevent the spread of the virus and ensure the safety and wellbeing of our employees, partners and customers," Mr Gobbetti said.

"Burberry accelerated the release of its trading update to warn on just how bad trading conditions are at this time and how poor the fourth quarter of 2020 is set to be," said Flavio Cereda and Kathryn Parker, analysts at Jefferies.

They added: "Expect to see very significant markdowns once stores reopen in Europe and the US and even that timing is uncertain."

Mr Gobbetti said: "We are implementing mitigating actions to contain our costs and protect our financial position, underpinned by our strong balance sheet. We remain confident in our strategy and the strength of our brand and I am exceptionally proud of our teams' resilience and commitment."

Britain's biggest online-only supermarket, Ocado, has seen growth double in March as the business is overwhelmed by orders from people staying indoors to avoid the coronavirus pandemic.

The retailer revealed on Thursday that it has seen a massive increase in trading since the three-month period ending March 1.

"The impact of higher basket values and order demand, amid growing public concern over the coronavirus, was limited in the (first) quarter, although this has since picked up significantly and growth in the second quarter is so far double that of the first quarter," said Ocado Retail chief executive Melanie Smith.

READ MORE: Private car hire firm reduces driver subscriptions to help during coronavirus

The news came a day after Ocado temporarily shut down its website to give itself breathing space amid "unprecedented strain" as orders streamed in from new and old customers.

All supermarkets have faced a major upswing in demand for some items, with shelves emptied of toilet paper, many canned goods and cereals.

Ocado said it was working with suppliers to increase stock in some categories.

However, despite this major increase, Ocado sounded a cautious note, keeping its financial guidance steady for the year, as an increase now could give way to a fall later, as customers burn through their stockpiles.

"We expect the impact of forward-buying, however, to unwind at some point," Ms Smith said.

She added: "I am tremendously proud of my colleagues and the outcomes we have achieved in the first quarter. I am confident that our resilience, teamwork and commitment will stand us in good stead to continue to deliver for our customers even with the current uncertainties."

Ocado Retail's revenue jumped by 10.3% to £441.2 million in the first quarter of the year, which Ms Smith said was largely not affected by the spread of Covid-19.

"However coronavirus unfolds, what is clear is that the fundamentals at Ocado Retail are strong," she said.

The supermarket also said it is "on track" to switch over its partnership with Waitrose to instead deliver Marks & Spencer goods.

As part of the deal for Ocado to deliver for M&S, the high street giant took a 50% stake in its online peer for £750 million last year.

The average number of orders placed on Ocado jumped 10.2% to 343,000, while the average order value was up by just 28p to £110.24.

Retail chain Next has warned it is preparing for a "significant" trading downturn amid the coronavirus pandemic as it revealed full-price sales have tumbled by 30% in recent days.

The group said stress tests showed the business could "comfortably sustain" more than £1 billion loss of sales over the full year - including sales declines of up to 100% in some weeks during the peak of the outbreak.

READ MORE: Glasgow bar firm slams Government as virus leads to 200 jobs cut

Online sales are likely to fare better than its 498 stores due to social distancing measures, but it gave a bleak outlook for trading in the coming months, cautioning that "people do not buy a new outfit to stay at home".

The comments came as Next reported a better-than-expected 0.8% rise in pre-tax profits to £728.5 million for the year to January as overall full-price brand sales lifted 4%.

Next chief executive Lord Simon Wolfson said: "When the pandemic first appeared in China, we assumed that the threat was to our supply chain.

"It is now very clear that the risk to demand is by far the greatest challenge we face and we need to prepare for a significant downturn in sales for the duration of the pandemic."

He added: "Online sales are likely to fare better than retail but will also suffer significant losses - people do not buy a new outfit to stay at home."

Recent trading results have showed the toll taken on sales as Britain has begun to go into lockdown, with total sales swinging from a 2.1% rise in the final week of January to an 8.8% drop last week and 30% plunge since Sunday.

It cautioned that sales could even fall by 100% for as long as a month in its worst case scenario, before gradually improving as the outbreak passes - leaving overall sales 53% lower over the affected period.

But the group said this is seen as an "overly pessimistic" sales scenario.

In the event of a prolonged closure period and no government assistance, Next cautioned it may be forced to take "radical" action on wages to help cut costs.

It hopes it can offset a severe trading hit by not requiring staff to work more than their contracted hours and, in the short term, not replacing leavers.