COVID-19: Latest Industry News

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COVID-19: Latest Industry News

By CSA Staff - 03/19/2020

Stay up to date on the impact of the coronavirus on the retail industry and how the industry is navigating the crisis.

Google Cloud provides relief for surge in customer support demand

Google Cloud is streamlining setup of its artificial intelligence-based customer service platform.

Retailers running their enterprise on the Google Cloud web services platform can now more quickly get up and running with the Google Contact Center AI artificial intelligence solution. Google is rolling out the Rapid Response Virtual Agent program, designed to provide fast launch of a 24/7 virtual chat or voice customer service agent.

Read more here.

Estimated March imports hit five-year low; decline likely to continue

Estimates show that imports at major U.S. retail container ports dropped to their lowest level in five years in March, with imports are projected to remain significantly below normal levels through early summer as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Read more here.

McDonald’s Australia, Subway join fast-casual grocery trend

Two more fast-casual chains are entering the grocery arena in response to COVID-19-fueled demand.

Panera is not the only fast-casual restaurant retailer using its existing ingredient supply chain to offer pick-up and delivery of grocery staples.

Read more here.

Nordstrom: Financial situation could become ‘distressed’ if stores remain dark

Nordstrom Inc. gave an update on the impact of COVID-19 in a securities filing on Wednesday.

The department store retailer said the global crisis resulting from the spread of the virus has had a “substantial” impact on its business, and that it expect results for its quarter ending May 2, 2020 and beyond to be adversely impacted in a “significant” manner. 

Read more here.

McDonald’s cutting about $1 billion in spending

McDonald’s is slashing spending and has withdrawn its 2020 outlook and long-term forecast amid the uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy.

In a business update, the company said it expects to reduce capital expenditures by approximately $1 billion for 2020 as a result of fewer new restaurant openings and renovations around the world. McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski will cut his salary in half, until at least Sept. 30, and four of McDonald’s top executives have volunteered to reduce their salaries by 25% through the same time period. 

Read more here.

Instacart ramps up delivery speed and convenience as demand surges

An online grocery delivery giant is increasing delivery availability and reducing wait times as demand surges during the COVID-19 crisis.

Instacart is launching two new consumer-facing features in response to heightened order volumes as customers shop online more due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new features - "Fast & Flexible" and "Order Ahead" - which the company has been testing over the last few weeks, are designed to increase delivery availability for customers across North America and provide more product selection and convenience.

Read more here.

Report: Amazon to pause third-party shipping during COVID-19 surge

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon will temporarily cease operations of its Amazon Shipping service in June. Launched in April 2019, Amazon Shipping bypasses Amazon fulfillment centers entirely. Select Amazon sellers with warehouses in the Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York/New Jersey metro areas can directly print Amazon shipping labels from their dashboards. Amazon then picks up packages every weekday and delivers them to domestic consumers seven days a week.

Read more here.

Fitch Ratings: The retailers most vulnerable to current spending downtown include…

The COVID-19 pandemic is upending U.S. retail discretionary spending, which is projected to decline by 40% to 50% in the first half of 2020.

That’s according to a post from Fitch Ratings, which expects a slow rate of improvement through the summer from a current 80% to 90% decline in sales — if stores start to open mid-May or early June. The downturn is expected to extend into 2021, with sales forecast to fall 8% to 10% from 2019 levels, Fitch stated. 

Read more here.

Panera Bread is now selling groceries

The fast-casual chain has grocery “staples” to its list of menu items available for pick-up or delivery as the COVID-19 outbreak continues. The featured products include produce, with tomatoes, avocado and blueberries among the offerings, along with dairy items such as milk, yogurt and cream cheese spreads. Breads and bagels are also in the mix.

Read more here.

PREIT furloughs 37% of its workforce

Large mall owner PREIT girded itself further against the coronavirus shutdown by furloughing 62 employees at its properties and 41 corporate office employees.

Last week, PREIT added $300 million in liquidity to its operations with a 90% cut in its quarterly dividend and an 11% reduction in capital spending.

Read more here.

H-E-B pilots on-demand restaurant delivery

A Texas-based regional grocery giant is opening its customer base to local food service retailers.

H-E-B has launched a pilot program to help area restaurants during the coronavirus crisis. Select H-E-B stores will sell ready-made meals from restaurant partners. All proceeds from the sales of these chef-prepared meals will go directly to the restaurants.

Read more here.

Starbucks makes $10 million commitment to new employee relief initiative

Starbucks Corp. is expanding its efforts to help its employees around the world affected by the COVID-19 crisis. 

The coffee giant has committed $10 million to establish the Starbucks Global Partner Emergency Relief Program, which will offer one-time direct grants to employees facing “extreme hardship” resulting from the pandemic. Eligible categories for the grants include, but are not limited to, housing and utilities, sudden loss of home, death of a family member or partner and related funeral expenses.  

Read more here.

ACI Worldwide: Online sales and fraud rising; maintaining security during crisis

The COVID-19 crisis is driving the global growth of e-commerce sales — and of online fraud.

Transaction volumes in most retail sectors experienced a 74% rise in March compared to the year-ago period, while online gaming has seen a staggering increase of 97%, according to an analysis by ACI Worldwide of hundreds of millions of transactions from global online retailers.

Read more here.

Gartner: Three steps to mitigate supply chain disruption from COVID-19

Retail chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) should combine an effective near-term response to the impact of COVID-19 with a plan for longer-term recovery.

Gartner has identified three actions retail CSCOs can undertake to mitigate initial disruption and set up their business for future success. 

Read more here.

Expert Insight: COVID-19 is Blunt Reminder to Address Supply Chain Challenges

While people’s health is the number one concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions are near the top of the list of business risks. As governments and organizations step up containment and mitigation measures, the knock-on effects on businesses will increase.

Read more here.

Dunkin’ delivers during pandemic - from more locations

A leading coffee retailer is adding stores to its on-demand delivery program and temporarily making some deliveries free. 

Dunkin’ is expanding an existing partnership with on-demand delivery platform Grubhub with more than 1,300 stores across the country. This will make Grubhub delivery available at more than 4,000 Dunkin’ stores nationwide by Thursday, April 16.

Read more here

Walmart’s annual shareholder meeting going virtual — but without the party

The huge, celebrity-studded celebration for Walmart employees that precedes its annual shareholder meeting has been canceled. 

Walmart Inc. canceled the event, which was scheduled for Friday, June 5, and has been held at the Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark., since 1994, citing the COVID-19 outbreak. The company will hold its formal shareholders meeting online, on June 3.

Read more here.

Survey: COVID-19 concerns grow among consumers

Shopping habits are changing as a result of the continuing COVID-19 outbreak, not necessarily to retailers’ benefit.

According to a new survey of U.S. adult consumers with Internet access from Coresight Research conducted the week of April 1, half of respondents are cutting back purchases in some areas. The clothing and footwear category is seeing the greatest number of respondents curbing spending. 

Read more here.

Lowe’s stores to close for Easter; new ad spot thanks front line responders

Lowe's Cos. is giving its employees time to “recharge” this Sunday.

The home improvement retailer said that all its stores and distribution centers in the U.S. and Canada will close this coming Easter Sunday. No hourly associate will lose scheduled hours or have a reduction in pay as a result of the closing, Lowe’s added. 

Read more here.

Amazon assists continuous learning in wake of COVID-19

Amazon is donating laptop computers to the Seattle public schools.

The e-tail giant will supply 8,200 laptops to students to help close the gap in Seattle Public Schools’ continuous learning plan during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amazon’s permanent, direct-to-student donation, valued over $2 million, is designed to meet the estimated need for elementary students and will help toward the goal of providing all public school students in Seattle with access to a device while at home. 

Read more here.

Walgreens to open 15 drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in ‘hot spot’ markets


Walgreens is moving to expand the availability of rapid COVID-19 testing.

The drug store company plans to open 15 drive-thru testing sites for the virus across Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas, starting later this week. The sites will utilize Abbott’s new ID NOW COVID-19 test, which delivers positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results within 13 minutes.

Read more here.

NPD: Retail ‘bright’ spots during COVID-19

Dollar sales declined 16% in the third week of March as hoarding slowed, but growth in a number of key industries helped stave off an even greater decline.

That’s according to The NPD Group’s weekly read on U.S. consumption trends, which revealed the bright spots that emerge amid the challenges retail is facing during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite steeper declines in overall general merchandise sales as the weeks progress, several categories within toys, consumer technology, small appliances, and office/janitorial supplies have found significant growth.

Read more here.

Food giant installs walk-through temperature scanners

Tyson Foods is using new technology to check employees’ temperature as they walk into the building.

Read more here.

Kroger limits in-store traffic with in-house technology; pilots one-way aisles

The Kroger Cos. is taking additional measures to encourage physical distancing and flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Beginning April 7, the nation’s largest supermarket retailer will begin to limit the number of customers to 50% of the International Building Code’s calculated capacity to allow for proper physical distancing in every store.

Read more here.

Walgreens, Rite Aid enhance store safety measures

The nation’s two largest drug store chains have implemented additional preventive measures to protect employees and customers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including installing plexiglass shields at counters and equipping employees with protective gear. 

Walgreens said it will be providing face covers to pharmacy staff and other store associates, as well as employees at distribution centers to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. Also, protective plexiglass shields are currently being installed in Walgreens stores in select markets, and will be installed “as quickly as possible” in all stores chain-wide, the company said. The shields are located at point-of-sale at the pharmacy and front of store.

Read more here.

CVS gives on-the-spot results at new COVID-19 test sites; opens ‘pop-up’ pharmacy

CVS Health, in conjunction with federal and state officials, has opened two rapid COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites.

The pharmacy giant said it hopes to perform up to 1,000 tests a day. The sites, in the parking lots at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island, will be conducted using the new Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test. Positive results can be delivered in as little as five minutes and negative results in as little as 13 minutes. Licensed health care providers from MinuteClinic, CVS’ retail medical clinic, will oversee the testing, which is available at no cost to patients.

Read more here.

Lamps Plus goes digital-only as consumers focus on comfort

A specialty lighting retailer is temporarily shuttering stores as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

California-based Lamps Plus has closed all 36 of its brick-and-mortar stores in seven western states to prevent possible transmission of the COVID-19 virus among customers and associates. The stores will reopen when advised. However, Lamps Plus says most of its business has transitioned online as orders continue to ship from the warehouse.

Read more here.

The Great American Takeout offers third course

A coalition of quick-service and fast-casual food chains is once again asking consumers to order meals – with an incentive.

For the third straight Tuesday, The Great American Takeout, a coalition of more than 400 restaurants and CPG partners nationwide, is requesting that consumers order at least one takeout or delivery meal from a restaurant on Tuesday, April 7. Payment processing technology provider Shift4Payments will provide $5,000 to be used at restaurants to one consumer who shares a photo of their takeout meal ordered April 7 on social media.

Read more here.

Customer Growth Partners analyzes impact of COVID-19 on retail sectors

Since March 1, the entire retail sector has undergone a huge sea change, with several major sectors seeing severe declines in business, even before virtually all specialty apparel and department stores closed the week of March 15, along with many other specialty stores. The apparel & accessories and department stores have been most challenged, across almost all formats and all price-points.

Meanwhile, a few sectors actually enjoyed a modest increase in trade over the year-earlier period (March 1-31)—notably the big-box discounters, smaller discounters and essential hardlines retailers that have not closed, as well as food and drug stores.  

Read more here.

Analysis: Younger shoppers shift e-commerce spend during COVID-19 pandemic

According to analysis of transactions made through payments provider Klarna, younger shoppers are focusing on what they will wear and their home environment as most Americans are now under some type of “stay-at-home” order. Klarna analyzed purchases by shoppers in the Gen Z (ages 18–23), millennial (ages 24–39) and Gen X (ages 40–55) demographics over the weeks of March 22–28 and March 15–21, as well as a base period of Feb. 1–March 7, 2020.

Read more here.

Walmart limits number of shoppers in stores; instituting one-way aisles

Walmart has taken additional steps to ensure the health and safety of its employees and customers during the COVID-19 crisis.

The retailer is limiting the number of customers who can be in a store at any one time. No more than five customers for each 1,000 sq. ft. can be in a store at a given time, which is roughly 20% of a store’s capacity. The new policy went into effect Saturday, April 4. 

Read more here.

The Container Store moves stores to omnichannel model

The Container Store (TCS) is minimizing brick-and-mortar shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an effort to prevent spread of COVID-19, TCS is closing all remaining stores that were not already closed in accordance with state and local orders. The company is shifting to click-and-pick-up/contactless curbside delivery and scheduled in-store appointments (only allowing one customer in the store at a time) in select locations, only where it is legally permitted and store employees wish to work. 

Read more here.

RH permanently cuts 440 employees, furloughs 2,300; cutting cap expenditures

The company formerly known as Restoration Hardware is tightening its belt.

Citing “the lack of clarity regarding when it will be safe to reopen,” RH said it has temporarily furloughed approximately 2,300 employees and is permanently reducing its workforce by 440 associates. The company is also implementing temporary tiered salary reductions across the company ranging from 10% for leaders and salaried associates, 20% for directors, 30% for VPs to 40% for senior VPs and chief titles. The executive leadership team will forgo 100% of its salaries until business stabilizes.

Read more here.

BJ’s limits in-store traffic to 20% of store’s total capacity

BJ’s Wholesale Club has joined other big-box retailers in limiting in-store traffic and implementing additional measures to support the health and safety of customers and employees during the current pandemic.

Starting April 4, the retailer will limit the number of members allowed inside its clubs at any one based on the square footage of each club. No more than 20% of a store’s total capacity will be allowed in the building at any given time. Also, when possible, all members are encouraged to send only one person per household to shop. 

Read more here.

Amazon’s Bezos makes multi-million gift to food organization

Amazon gave an update on its latest efforts to support its hometown community and the world at large during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has made a $100 million gift to Feeding America, which is the largest U.S. nonprofit focused on food security. Feeding America will distribute the funds to its national network of food banks and food pantries.

Read more here.

CSA Exclusive: Four predictions for post-pandemic retail success

The harsh lessons learned during the coronavirus (COVID-19) may be exactly what will help retailers to survive — and thrive — post-pandemic.

Currently, retail chains industry-wide continue to shore up capital by reducing operating hours, temporarily closing stores, and furloughing employees, among other measures. In fact, there were almost 62,000 temporary store closures by major retailers in the United States as of March 27, according to Coresight Research. 

Read more here.

Commentary: Retailers must make websites fully accessible — or face ADA lawsuits

As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps America and shelter-in-place orders drag on, online shopping, once a convenience, is now a necessity. 

But for many of our parents and grandparents, the web is full of stumbling blocks. The vast majority of websites do not meet even the most basic accessibility standards laid out by the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which has become the de facto standard businesses must adhere to in order to fulfill their obligations under the Americans With Disabilities Act, the landmark 1990 ruling which guarantees that all businesses provide “full and equal enjoyment of the goods and services” they offer to all Americans, including those with visual, auditory and other impairments.

Read more here.

Digital commerce companies offer local relief from COVID-19

There are some inspiring examples of how localized digital commerce can help retailers reach consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I have been heartened to see how many e-commerce retailers and technology providers are working to combat COVID-19 on a national basis. However, there are also a lot of local efforts that attract less attention, but are no less valuable or praiseworthy. Here are three examples.

Read more here.

Benjamin Moore partners to help small businesses, painting contractors

Benjamin Moore has teamed up with the Painting Contractors Association to underwrite participation costs for the association’s online “Operation COVID-19 Response” educational event.

As the founding sponsor of this initiative, Benjamin Moore is committed to assisting painting contractors and small businesses navigate through the changes in industry brought on by COVID-19.

Read more here.

Expert Insight: Retailers should plan for the new normal now

The last few weeks have created an unprecedented situation and rapid changes for all of us, perhaps, none more so than chain retailers. While some businesses—like pharmacies and supermarkets—have been thrust into the eye of the storm struggling to keep up with new demands, others have simply had to shutter their stores and wonder when they will see a customer again. 

While it may seem counterintuitive to focus on anything but execution, I believe now is exactly the time for leaders in both of these categories to re-examine and refresh their overall strategy by keeping a sharp eye on how customer behavior and sentiment is evolving, and planning for the new normal BEFORE it arrives.  

Read more here.

Survey: Amazon frustrateRead more here.s many shoppers during COVID-19 pandemic

Online competitors of Amazon may have an opportunity in the COVID-19 crisis.

According to the Consumers & Commerce 2020 Coronavirus Trends Report from e-commerce platform Yotpo, 65% of respondents using Amazon said they couldn't get everything (33%) or anything (32%) they really needed from the retailer. And if an item is out of stock, 41% of respondents will turn to a less familiar brand to help meet their need.

Read more here.

Instacart to distribute health kits to shoppers

An on-demand grocery delivery giant is adding to its efforts to promote shopper well-being.

Instacart will provide free health and safety kits to full-service shoppers that include face masks, hand sanitizer, and thermometers. The company worked over the last several weeks with several third-party manufacturers, in consultation with medical and infectious disease experts, to source and develop the kits.

Read more here.

10,000 tune into Marcus & Millichap coronavirus webcast

Here’s how the coronavirus-caused economic plunge is different from 2008.

The Great Recession hit during a time of economic instability with massive market speculation, falling home prices, and no Fed playbook for recovery. The current crisis befell us during a boom economy. Its duration depends not so much upon declining numbers in the Standard & Poors Index as on increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths. 

Read more here.

Lululemon keeps workers on payroll

Lululemon athletica inc. is paying its employees even as its stores remain shuttered amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The athletic apparel retailer said it will continue to pay its employees through June 1, whether stores reopen or remain closed. The move comes as many department store and specialty retailers, from Macy’s to Gap to Bed Bath & Beyond, have furloughed store employees. (Lululemon also has paid all its April rent to landlords, reported CNBC.)

Read more here.

Under Armour details big restructuring charges; to furlough employees

Citing the “acute shock” to its business resulting from COVID-19, Under Armour outlined a series of cost-cutting measures as the financial toll of the pandemic rises.

In separate news, the athletic apparel brand detailed a previously (pre-pandemic) planned restructuring initiative that is designed to reduce costs and improve future profitability and cash flow generation. It includes one-time charges of between $475 million to $525 million this year.

Read more here.

Zappos will help customers – with anything

An online footwear, apparel and accessories retailer will answer literally any question a consumer may have.

Zappos has launched a Customer Service Anything Hotline. The 24/7 phone service allows consumers who call the retailer’s customer service center to select a “help with anything” option. With no purchase required, consumers can discuss topics such as the weather, streaming video selections, or even dream vacation plans with a live customer agent.

Read more here.

Chico's takes a ‘poison pill’ amid COVID-19 outbreak

Chicos’s FAS Inc. is the second retailer in recent days to adopt a limited duration shareholders rights plan after disruptions due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The women’s apparel retailer adopted the plan, the so-called "poison pill,” saying it was in the best interest of all its shareholders. The plan aims to guard against any individual or group gaining control of the company in the open market without paying a premium. (Tailored Brands, parent company of Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank, adopted a shareholders rights plan on March 31.)

Read more here.

Target to limit store traffic

Target Corp. is rolling out additional social distancing and safety measures in its stores.

Beginning April 4, the discounter said it will actively monitor and, when needed, limit the total number of people inside a store based on the location’s specific square footage. If metering is needed, an employee will help shoppers into a designated waiting area outside with social distancing markers. Other employees will guide shoppers inside the store and keep things moving quickly and conveniently, Target said.

Read more here.

Amazon doing temperature checks, providing face masks; up to 80,000-plus new hires

Amazon outlined additional steps to protect its fulfillment center and delivery employees during the COVID-19 outbreak after coming under some criticism that it was not doing enough.

In a blog post, Dave Clark, senior VP of worldwide operations at Amazon, said the company will start taking employees’ temperatures when they report to work and also supply them with face masks. The temperature checks started Sunday, March 29, at select U.S. sites and have since been rolled out to more than 100,00 employees per day. 

Read more here.

Publix implements plexiglass shields, other methods for store safety

A regional grocery giant is altering store design and operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Publix has started installing plexiglass shields at all cash registers, pharmacies and customer service counters, as well as suspended in-store product and recipe sampling and classes. The retailer has also increased sanitization through frequent and regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces like carts, door handles, PIN pads, ATMs and vending machines. To allow extra time for store cleaning and preventive sanitation, Publix has reduced store hours.

Read more here.

Lowe’s new safety measures include employee app to monitor foot traffic

Lowe’s Companies is doubling down on its in-store social distancing measures during the COVID-19 crisis. It’s also raising the pay of hourly workers and giving them access to gloves and masks.

The home improvement giant said it has developed an app, available on employees’ handheld devices, to implement a new customer limit protocol. Each store manager can now monitor foot traffic and limit entrance based on CDC and local guidelines, Lowe’s said.

Read more here.

Shopify helps retailers socially distance

A leading digital commerce platform is running several initiatives aimed at helping retailers adapt to new shopping protocols in the wake of COVID-19.

Shopify is making local in-store /curbside pickup and delivery available for all retailers using its POS platform. In addition, the company is making gift cards available on all plans and for all retailers. 

Read more here.

Kimco puts $800 million cash on its balance sheet to ride out the pandemic

One of North America’s largest publicly traded owners and operators of grocery-anchored centers and mixed-use assets has girded itself against coronavirus by obtaining a $375 million unsecured term loan.

Kimco Realty now claims approximately $800 million of cash on its balance sheet. The Jericho, N.Y., based company stated that this strong cash position, together with a $1.3 billion revolving credit facility and more than 300 unencumbered properties provides it with the capacity to meet its debt obligations through the end of 2020.  

Read more here.

Newegg maintains continuity during COVID-19 pandemic

Newegg says it is making extra effort to help ensure the health and safety of warehouse employees who remain onsite to process, pick, pack and ship customer orders. This includes providing additional janitorial service, educating about the importance of good workplace hygiene, and supplying masks and other protective gear.

Read more here.

Ross Stores furloughs most of store, DC employees; CEO, chairman defer salaries

Ross Stores is taking additional steps to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The off-pricer extended its store closings and, to further enhance liquidity, will temporarily furlough the majority of its store and distribution center employees, as well as some other associates across the business, starting on Sunday, April 5.

Read more here.

NYC leasing agent: 40% of shutdown businesses won’t re-open

One retail leasing agent in New York foresees bleak consequences in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, with retail vacancy rates hitting 50%.

“Prior to this situation, we were working on around 32 deals, and 30 of them were about to go to lease. In response to the pandemic, those 30 deals pulled the brakes and are now completely halted,” said James Famularo, president of Meridian Retail Leasing. 

Read more here.

Hy-Vee reserves time online for vulnerable shoppers

A regional Midwestern grocer has expanded its reserved shopping times from its physical stores to its online delivery service.

Hy-Vee Inc. is reserving one hour of its Hy-Vee “aisles online” shopping time slots each day for customers who are considered “high-risk.” The online time slots will be reserved from 7 to 8 a.m., seven days a week, for customers age 60 and older, expectant mothers, and anyone with an underlying health condition(s) that makes them more susceptible to serious illness. 

Read more here.

Walmart reportedly puts efforts to sell Asda on hold

Walmart’s ongoing efforts to sell a majority stake in its U.K. supermarket chain ASDA may have been put on the back burner for the time being. 

The retail giant hit the pause button in order  to free up its leadership team  to focus their full attention on  managing the business amid big spikes in demand for groceries and other essential items caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, reported CNBC.

Read more here.

Sephora keeping majority of U.S. store employees on payroll through late May

Sephora has joined other major retailers in extending its store closures, but it is not following suit in another way.

Instead of furloughing the majority of its workforce, the beauty giant, which is owned by Paris-based luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, decided to let go of a portion of its part-time and seasonal store employee base, specifically those who have worked for the company for a short tenure and have limited hours. The employees have all been offered severance and provided with resources to support their transition, the company said.

Read more here.

Survey: 85% of Americans to alter buying habits because of COVID-19

The coronavirus have significant short- and long-term effects on brand affinity and consumer purchases in the U.S.

That’s according to a survey conducted during the last two days by research from GfK, which revealed that 67% of Americans are concerned about their ability to make ends meet during the crisis, and that 85%  expect to change their purchase behavior because of the virus.

Read more here.

Furniture retailer Article modifies delivery for COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a specialty furniture retailer is instituting contactless delivery protocols.

Article is now offering fully operational delivery across the U.S. and Canada, with most of its product in stock and available for shipment from local warehouses. The retailer is introducing contactless delivery as its default shipping option. Stores remain closed until further notice.

Read more here.

Study: Online channel likely to benefit long-term from COVID-19

It has only been a few weeks, but the COVID-19 pandemic is already making many consumers more likely to shop online.

According to “The Early Effects of COVID-19 On Online Shopping,” a new study of nearly 1,200 U.S. consumers from RSR Research and Yottaa, 90% of respondents are hesitant to shop in-store due to coronavirus (COVID-19). A majority of respondents will either not shop in-store at all or will only do so if “absolutely necessary.”

Read more here.

Adobe: E-commerce is changing, not just because of COVID-19

Digital shopping and purchasing power were on the rise even before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index, the digital purchasing power of consumers is up 3% year-over-year and has increased 20% since 2014, with $1 buying online today what it would have taken $1.20 to buy in 2014. Over that same time, $1 spent buying a similar set of goods offline lost value, with $1 in 2020 buying what would have only cost 88 cents in 2014. 

Read more here.

Tailored Brands resumes online fulfillment, will manufacture masks

The parent company of Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Banks has reopened its e-commerce fulfillment centers and begun shipping online orders.

Tailored Brands will keep its retail stores temporarily closed until at least May 4, 2020. However, Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank can now ship directly to customers who place retail orders on the brands’ respective websites, as well as rental orders previously placed in-store, and new rental reservations made online.

Read more here.

Kroger giving another bonus to ‘hero’ employees

he Kroger Company is increasing its efforts to reward employees working on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nation’s largest supermarket retailer also announced that all hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates will see their standard base rate of pay raised $2. 

Read more here.

No rent break from Taubman for retailers

Taubman Centers, one of the largest owners of malls in the United States, is demanding rent from tenants even though their properties are shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic.

USA Today obtained a letter Taubman sent to tenants that said “All tenants will be expected to meet their Lease obligations. It further explained that the "landlord's obligation to pay its lenders, utility companies, insurance companies and the like, to ensure the safety and security of the building and maintain the appropriate level of operations, remains."

Read more here.

Register Now: CSA webinar on how to maximize online sales during COVID-19

An upcoming webinar hosted by Chain Store Age will provide practical and actionable insights on how retailers can meet e-commerce, delivery and mobile challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The webinar, “Don’t Go Home – Go Omnichannel – Digital Retail Strategies to Survive and Thrive During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” will be presented on Tuesday, April 7, 2 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. EST. It will put a spotlight on — and address how retailers can overcome —three critical topics facing retailers as they deal with the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak:

Read more here.

Home Depot limits in-store customers; halts sales of N95 masks

The Home Depot announced temporary changes to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 along with an update on how it is contributing to front line medical professionals. 

The home improvement giant is limiting the number of customers allowed into its stores at any one time and marking floors and installing signage to help customers and employees maintain safe distances. The retailer is also giving thermometers to store and distribution center employees to perform health checks before reporting to work.

Read more here.

David’s Bridal, Guess?, Christopher & Banks furloughing employees, cutting expenses

More retailers are furloughing employees and taking other measures to shore up liquidity as they extend store closings amid the COVID-19 crisis. 

Below are business updates from David's Bridal, Guess? and Christopher & Banks. 

Read more here.

Urban Outfitters temporarily halts rent payments

In announcing its decision to suspend payments, Urban Outfitters joins The Cheesecake Factory, the only other national chain that has gone public with plans to do so. In addition, Urban Outfitters detailed a list of other measures is it taking to protect its financial position and increase financial flexibility during the COVID-19 crisis, including adjusting inventory levels by canceling or delaying many orders and asking for price concessions on those remaining.

Read more here.

Device uses real-time audio cues to promote in-store social distancing

A device that resembles a dome security camera is designed to heighten real-time awareness of social distancing in retail stores – especially in busy areas frequented by multiple shoppers.

SmartDome, from shopper engagement and loss prevention technologies provider Indyme, looks like the dome security cameras that are installed on the ceilings of many stores nationwide. But it operates much differently: Upon detecting people in the monitored area, it announces a message such as "For your safety, please maintain at least six feet of social distance."

Read more here.

PREIT takes actions to improve liquidity by $300 million during Coronavirus pandemic

Pennsylvania’s largest owner of enclosed malls has taken actions to strengthen its balance sheet and create $300 million in incremental liquidity.

PREIT decreased the size of its quarterly dividend by 90% to two cents per common share to make up $60 million in liquidity for the year. It has increased its borrowing capacity by more than $83 million by executing amendments to its credit facilities. It also plans to reduce its capital spending projections by 11% to save $11 million.

Read more here.

Restaurants ask consumers to take it to go – again

A coalition of quick-service and fast-casual food chains are offering a sequel to “The Great American Takeout.”

For the second Tuesday in a row, a coalition of restaurants is asking Americans to support the struggling restaurant community by ordering at least one delivery or pick-up meal from any restaurant during The Great American Takeout on Tuesday, March 31.

Read more here.

Simon furloughs 30% of its workforce

The nation’s biggest, which had temporarily closed all of its properties, is now shedding nearly a third of its workforce.

Read more here.

J.C. Penney furloughs most of its workforce; to cover 100% of their health premiums

J.C. Penney joined the growing list of major retail chains that are furloughing employees as stores remain closed amid the COVID-10 crisis.

The department store giant said it is extending the temporary closure of its stores and business offices due to the pandemic and, as a result, will temporarily furlough the majority of store hourly associates, beginning April 2.

Read more here.

Exclusive: Cannabis chain meets challenges of COVID-19

Starbuds is leveraging omnichannel technology and social distancing to ensure customer and employee safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Colorado-based operator of recreational and medicinal cannabis dispensaries operates 20 locations in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Maryland. Chain Store Age recently spoke with Brian Ruden, CEO and co-founder of Starbuds, about how the company is specifically dealing with COVID-19 issues in Colorado, where it operates 13 dispensaries.

Read more here.

Nielsen: Sales are skyrocketing in these categories due to COVID-19

Consumer demand for key products is rising well into three-digit growth rates compared to 2019.

According to Nielsen total U.S. dollar sales data, sales of some items in the health/safety/cleaning, food, beverages, pet, and beauty products categories for the one- and four-week periods ending Saturday, March 21, 2020, are up dramatically year-over-year. 

Read more here.

Walmart to take employees’ temperatures as part of stepped up safety measures

Walmart Inc. is taking additional steps to ensure the safety of its workers and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, from taking the temperature of workers to one-way store aisles.

The retail giant will start taking the temperatures of its employees as they report to work in stores, warehouse clubs, distribution centers and other facilities, as well as asking them some basic health screening questions.  Infrared thermometers are being sent to all locations, a process that could take up to three weeks.

Read more here.

Hibbett Sports names CFO

Hibbett Sports has found a permanent finance head.

The athletic specialty retailer named Robert J. Volke as its new CFO. Volke’s employment will begin April 13, 2020, in the position of senior VP of accounting and finance. Immediately following the filing of the company’s annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended February 1, 2020, he will become the CFO.

Read more here.

Gap Inc. furloughs store employees; exec team takes pay cut

Gap Inc. is extending its store closures past the previously announced April 1 date to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

As part of its decision, the company will furlough the majority of its store teams in the United States and Canada. It also is reducing headcount across its corporate functions around the world. Gap is temporarily halting pay, but will continue to offer applicable benefits until stores are able to reopen. 

Read more here.

Brooks Brothers, Under Armour using factories to make medical supplies

Brooks Brothers and Under Armour joined the growing list of retailers who are using their facilities to make badly-needed medical supplies for frontline healthcare workers in the wake of the novel coronavirus.

Brooks Brothers is converting its New York, North Carolina and Massachusetts factories from manufacturing ties, shirts and suits to now making masks and gowns. The apparel company plans to use the facilities to produce up to 150,000 masks per day on an ongoing basis. It will also be producing protective gowns.

Read more here.

Kohl’s furloughs store employees; CEO forgoing salary; cuts cap expenditures

Kohl’s is furloughing a good deal of its workforce and cutting capital expenditures as it extends store closings in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The retailer said it will temporarily furlough store and store distribution center associates, as well as some corporate office associates whose work has been significantly reduced by the store closures.  

Read more here.

Spencer’s furloughs all store employees

The party is temporarily on hold at Spencer’s.

The specialty retailer announced that its stores will remain closed for the foreseeable future to maintain the safety of customers and employees from the continued spread of COVID-19. In line with the extended closing, Spencer’s is furloughing all store employees across its 680 stores nationwide.  

Read more here.

Macy’s to furlough most of workforce amid significant sales losses

With no clear timeline for when stores will reopen, Macy’s Inc. is furloughing most of its employees as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to take a heavy toll on its business.

The department store giant, which has about 130,000 employees, said that, starting this week, it will be moving to the “absolute minimum workforce” needed to maintain basic operations across its brands. With its online operations still open for business, there will be fewer furloughs in the retailer’s digital business, supporting distribution centers and call centers as it continues to serve customers online. 

Read more here.

Stage Stores furloughs all but 80 employees; reduces exec pay

With all its stores temporarily closed, Stage Stores has furloughed virtually its entire workforce in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The company, whose transformation into an off-price retailer under the Gordmans banner had hit some snags the virus outbreak, has furloughed virtually all employees in its stores, field support roles and distribution centers. Also, 87% of the workforce at its Houston support center have been put on furlough. 

Read more here.

Exclusive Q&A: Navigating COVID-19 distribution issues

Retailers experiencing product shortages in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic need to use patience and strategy.

Chain Store Age recently spoke with Bobby Napiltonia, chief revenue officer of on-demand freight management platform NEXT Trucking, about how retailers can deal with challenges in transportation and distribution due to demand surges caused by COVID-19.

Read more here.

Lamy Group: Rents coming due pose critical test for landlords and tenants

With most stores closed throughout much of the United States to help stem the spread of COVID-19, retail landlords are being inundated with requests for rent relief.

That’s according to The Lamy Group, which noted that, as the first week of April approaches, rents are due for the first time during the crisis, which will mark the start of a critical test for landlords and retail tenants alike. 

Read more here.

Dollar General gives discount to first responders; employee bonuses

Dollar General Corp. is giving a discount to the folks on the frontlines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The discounter will provide all medical personnel, first responders and activated National Guardsmen with a 10% discount on qualifying purchases. The offer is good through April 30, with an extension to be evaluated in the coming weeks based on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more here.

Publix offering free rent to tenants in its company-owned centers

The dominant grocer in Florida (who is also a major property owner in the state) is offering assistance to some of its neighboring businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic forces them to temporarily close their doors. 

Publix is offering rent relief to businesses operating in company-owned shopping centers that have closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The relief package includes waiving rent for two months, along with waiving payments for common area maintenance fees and taxes. The offer is good regardless of the tenant’s access to other relief or assistance.

Read more here.

Ulta Beauty expands store closings; DC workers to get $2-per-hour raise


Ulta Beauty Inc. joined the growing list of retailers whose stores will remain temporarily closed until “it is safe to reopen.”

The beauty giant’s e-commerce operation, however, remains up and running. Ulta said it is providing employees working at the distribution centers a $2-per-hour wage increase “in gratitude for their continued commitment.” 

Read more here.

Gap Inc. reduces cap expenditures, postpones dividend payment, taps credit line

Gap Inc. has taken “precautionary actions” to strengthen financial flexibility in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The retailer is reducing capital expenditures by approximately $300 million in fiscal 2020 and reviewing all operating expenses for opportunities to reduce spending, including realigning inventory to expected sales trends.

Read more here.

In ‘first-of-its-kind’ order, Modell’s bankruptcy suspended due to COVID-19

The novel coronavirus has had an unexpected result.

A judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey on Friday granted a request from Modell's Sporting Goods to suspend its bankruptcy proceedings until at least April 30. Modell’s filed for Chapter 11 earlier this month with plans to liquidate all its 134 stores.

Read more here.

Starbucks, Krispy Kreme among chains giving free items to front-line responders


Several major chains are stepping up to offer support to healthcare workers during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Read more here.

Grocers ease on-demand delivery for seniors during pandemic

Hundreds of grocery retailers across the country are partnering with DoorDash to make on-demand delivery more accessible to senior citizens nationwide.

Hy-Vee Inc., Woodman’s, Kowalski’s Markets, and hundreds of independent grocers like Piggly Wiggly, LifeThyme Natural Market, Le District, and Matherne’s, are collectively waiving delivery fees on orders fulfilled by DoorDash for those 60 years of age and over. More than 2,000 grocery store locations nationwide will be participating to make on-demand grocery delivery more accessible to seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more here.

Kroger ramps up hiring — for the second time; onboarding time down to 72 hours

The Kroger Company is doubling down on its hiring efforts.

The supermarket giant said it plans to hire 20,000 workers across its stores, manufacturing plants and distribution centers during the next several weeks to help it to continue to provide fresh food and useful supplies amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The new hires will be in addition to the 23,500 new employees that have joined Kroger in recent weeks.

Read more here

Rent-A-Center stores offering ‘threshold deliveries’ in response to COVID-19

Rent-A-Center is altering how it fulfills online orders and limiting in-store shoppers.

The rent-to-own retailer is now providing “threshold deliveries,” dropping off merchandise at the customer’s front door. Although delivery personnel will not enter customer homes and in-house installations are suspended until further notice, Rent-A-Center says it will work closely with customers in making arrangements to get the product inside their home.

Read more here.

Walgreens makes it easier for customers to shop without leaving their cars

Walgreens has expanded drive-thru shopping in an effort to promote social distancing amid the COVID-19 crisis. 

The drugstore retailer is expanding the assortment at its 7,300-plus pharmacy drive-thrus from prescription to include more than 60 front-end products. The assortment features specifically selected household essentials such as cleaning supplies and sanitizers, over-the-counter products such as cough/cold, pain/fever and immunity support, grocery items, infant formula/adult nutrition, medical supplies, first aid and paper goods.

Read more here.

CSA Exclusive: COVID-19 impacts retailers on products, personalization, people

A closer look at the recent Chain Store Age COVID-19 survey reveals some very specific areas where the pandemic is disrupting operations.

The online survey, conducted online via the Chain Store Age site, asked readers four questions about what impact, if any, the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is having on their enterprise in the areas of fulfillment, sales, store operations, and workforce management. 

Read more here.

Party City extends store closures, taps into credit

Party City Holdco Inc. is extending the temporary shuttering of its stores.

The retailer said Friday that its corporate-owned stores will remain closed until further notice. 

Read more here.

Want COVID-19 information? Ask Alexa

Amazon is offering a variety of informational and communication services via its Alexa voice assistant and other platforms.

Using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, the Alexa health team built a U.S. experience that lets consumers use Alexa to check their risk level for COVID-19 at home. Consumers can ask, "Alexa, what do I do if I think I have COVID-19?" or "Alexa, what do I do if I think I have coronavirus?," and Alexa will ask a series of questions about their travel history, symptoms, and possible exposure. Based on responses, Alexa will provide CDC guidance given the consumer’s risk level and symptoms.

Read more here.

A look at the economic stimulus package

With the Senate unanimously approving the $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package – the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act —   the legislation heads to the House of Representatives on March 27 and then President Trump’s desk.

The act is designed to give the U.S. economy much more than a shot in the arm while jump-starting a machine that has been all but sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic as businesses have been shuttered and millions for employment.

Read more here.


Neiman Marcus, Joann partner to make gear for frontline healthcare workers

In an unlikely partnership, the nation’s premier luxury department store company is teaming up with a leading fabric and craft retailer to help fill part of the immediate need of materials for medical personnel. Gap Inc. has launched a similar effort.

Read more here.

Survey: Consumers shop differently during COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 is having a major impact on every aspect of life, and shopping is not exempt.

According to a new survey of 1,000 consumers from marketing technology and consumer engagement firm Valassis, half of respondents have reported changing their online shopping behavior during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. This figure includes 42% who are shopping online more and 8% who are shopping online less. 

Read more here.

Amazon offers supplies, educational & technical support for COVID-19'

An e-tail giant is providing a variety of services designed to provide relief from and combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help meet the immediate needs of residents in the Puget Sound region of its home state of Washington, Amazon is donating 250,000 items such as linens, towels, shelf-stable food, Amazon devices, entertainment items, and other supplies to four temporary housing sites in King County, Washington, supporting patients in quarantine or recovery due to COVID-19.

Read more here.

Nordstrom furloughs some corporate workers; extends store closures

The Nordstrom brothers are declining to take a salary from April through September. 

The department store retailer said that its executive leadership group will forgo a part of their salary from April through September and that CEO Erik Nordstrom and chief brand officer Peter Nordstrom will decline a salary during that time also. The company's board is also forgoing its cash compensation for six months. 

Read more here.

Abercrombie & Fitch U.S. stores closed ‘until further notice,’ draws down credit

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is reevaluating all expenditures in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The apparel retailer also said it will continue to keep all stores outside of the Asia-Pacific region temporarily closed until further notice. Abercrombie also said it has started the process to draw down $210 million from its revolving credit facility. Last week, the company withdrew most of its excess funds from Rabbi, providing it with about $50 million.

Read more here.

Kroger debuts pickup-only store

Kroger is responding to increased customer demand for in-store pickup of orders as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The grocery giant has turned a store in the Mount Carmel neighborhood of Cincinnati into its first-ever pickup-only location. Customers in the Greater Cincinnati area can select the store as their preferred pickup location when placing an order online or via the Kroger app. 

Read more here.

Tailored Brands furloughs all U.S. store workers, extends closures, cuts exec pay

The parent company of Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Banks, is extending the temporary closure of its stores for several more weeks.

Citing what it called the latest guidance from federal, state and local government and health authorities, and in the interest of the health and safety of its customers and employees, Tailored Brands said it will keep its stores closed until May 4. 

Read more here.

People survey: Consumers watching how employers treat workers during COVID-19

How companies treat their workers during COVID-19 will influence future purchases.

That’s according to a survey by People magazine’s Insider Panel, in which 65% of respondents said that company actions during this time will likely impact which brands they decide to purchase in the future. The survey found that more than 89% are monitoring the treatment of employees by the companies they work for during these difficult times – watching whether corporations lay off workers, offer paid sick days, give back to their communities, etc. 

Read more here.

Meijer removes popular kid’s ride as part of Covid-19 store safety measures

Meijer is taking extra safety measures in its stores amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The retailer is joining Walmart, Kroger and other retailers in installing plexiglass sneeze shields at all its check lanes. The shields will be installed beginning next week at Meijer’s 248 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.

Read more here.

Coach parent extends store closures, employee pay; cutting costs

Tapestry is keeping its store doors closed for another two weeks, at least.

The parent company of Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman has extended store closures in North America and Europe for an additional two weeks, through April 10. Tapestry said it will reassess store closure decisions on a bi-weekly basis. Employees at closed locations will continue to receive pay and benefits during the next four weeks.

Read more here.

Lowe’s hiring 30,000; giving out bonuses; takes new store safety measures

Lowe’s is taking new preventative measures and announced an additional $80 million commitment in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The home improvement giant is looking to hire 30,000 in-store positions across the U.S., including full-time, part-time, seasonal and overnight roles available for displaced workers who are seeking short-term opportunities. Positions are also available at distribution centers and other supply chain facilities.

Read more here.

7-Eleven installing sneeze guards

7-Eleven is among the growing ranks of retailers opting to install sneeze guards at its checkout lanes and/or front counters.

The c-store giant said it has ordered and will begin installing plexiglass sneeze guards at the front sales counter in its 9,000-plus U.S. 7-Eleven stores to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Installations, which will begin at stores in areas hardest hit by the pandemic and expand to include all U.S. stores, will be complete in all stores in the next two weeks. 

Read more here.

Survey reveals demographic differences in consumer response to COVID-19

More men than women are stockpiling groceries and cutting back on spending during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s according to a consumer survey from digital product testing and decision-making platform First Insight, which found gender and generational differences have a lot to do with how shoppers are responding to the virus outbreak. The survey also revealed that news of the COVID-19 virus is impacting the shopping behavior of 75% of respondents, up from 45% compared to a survey fielded in late February. 

Read more here.

Amazon takes extra precautions across its vast enterprise for COVID-19

Amazon is adjusting a wide variety of fulfillment, delivery, and in-store practices to ensure it can continue operating safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The online giant has implemented a series of preventative health measures to increase the frequency and intensity of cleaning at its retail stores, fulfillment centers and other sites around the globe.

Read more here

J.C. Penney extends omnichannel options during pandemic

J.C. Penney Co. is making it easier for customers to buy and return items online.

The department store retailer, which has shuttered its stores until at least April 2 in response to the ongoing threat of COVID-19, is now qualifying all online orders of $49 or more for free standard shipping. Online assortment includes essential items and extended categories that are not offered in J.C. Penney stores.

Read more here.

Canada Goose dedicates manufacturing resources in fight against COVID-19

A luxury outerwear brand is leveraging its own resources to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

Canada Goose announced the company will leverage its manufacturing facilities to begin production of necessary medical gear for frontline healthcare workers and patients across Canada in the fight against COVID-19. The company has committed to producing medical scrubs and patient gowns, which are in short supply across Canada, at two of its manufacturing facilities, starting in Toronto and Winnipeg, with the opportunity to extend production across additional facilities as needed. The gear will be distributed to local hospitals at no cost.

Read more here.

ASA and RILA partner to address critical need for retail workers

The American Staffing Association and the Retail Industry Leaders Association are teaming up to address the immediate need to fill openings for workers at essential businesses such as grocery stores and pharmacies that provide critical services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ASA is now providing an online, searchable directory to connect RILA member retailers to ASA member staffing agencies that can fill high-demand roles including warehouse workers; store clerks for unloading, stocking, cleaning, and sanitizing; cashiers and greeters; forklift selectors and pickers; and delivery drivers. The directory is also available on the RILA COVID-19 resources for retailers website.

Read more here.

Analysis: Retail Starting Down a New Path with COVID-19

Our focus has shifted dramatically. Fear has moved purchases from discretionary to necessity. We are thinking more about finding solutions than fulfilling desires. While our weekly U.S. consumption trends data shows sales for the first week of March (week ending March 7) looked similar to last year with 2% dollar growth overall, we expect to see this change over the next two reporting weeks. At the industry level, the data already shows some significant trends building. 

Read more here

Target delays store remodels, openings to focus all attention on COVID-19

Target Corp. is putting a temporary hold on some of its store remodeling and growth initiatives to minimize potential disruptions as it focuses on serving customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The discounter also announced new in-store changes to protect shoppers and employees during the outbreak.

Read more here.

Camping World CEO to provide financial help to employees during COVID-19

Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World Holdings and star of CNBC show “The Profit,” is stepping up to assist employees experiencing financial and personal difficulties due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

Camping World announced that Lemonis intends to sell up to 500,000 shares of Class A common stock that he beneficially owns at a future date in accordance with applicable securities laws and contribute the proceeds to fund specific employee relief. The fund is in addition to the assistance the company is providing.

Read more here

Walmart installing plexiglass barriers in stores; using new sanitizing solution

Walmart is taking additional step to ensure the well-being of both workers and customers.

The retail giant has started installing plexiglass barriers (sneeze guards) at the pharmacy lanes in Walmart and Sam’s Club stores. It also plans to install the guards at regular Walmart registers during the next two to three weeks. (Kroger is also installing plexiglass barriers in its stores.)

Read more here.

H-E-B serves seniors with targeted omnichannel service

A Texas-based regional grocery giant is providing seniors with personal shoppers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Working with its Favor Delivery on-demand delivery subsidiary, H-E-B will begin allowing customers across Texas age 60 and older to place same-day delivery orders with Favor using a curated list of products available from H-E-B. Eligible customers can make purchases via a senior support phone line, which is staffed with volunteer personal shoppers from both companies, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week.

Read more here.

Kroger installing plexiglass partitions at registers, distance decals on floor

The Kroger Co. is doing its part to promote physical distancing in its stores.

The supermarket giant has begun installing plexiglass partitions at cash registers in many of its stores.  Kroger said it anticipates every checklane having a partition, including pharmacy counters and in-store Starbucks registers, within the next several weeks.

Read more here.

Instacart in massive hiring blitz; hiring 54,000 in California alone

Instacart is ramping up hiring big time to meet surging demand brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The online grocery delivery giant plans to bring on an additional 300,000 full-service shoppers during the next three months to meet escalating demand for grocery delivery and pickup in North America. Instagram expects to add 54,000 shoppers in California and 27,000 in New York. 

Read more here

PayPal offers COVID-19 support to retailers, customers, employees

PayPal is promising to aid all members of its ecosystem who may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an open letter posted on the PayPal site, Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal, said the omnichannel payments platform will make its business financing solutions and customer service experts available to help any businesses using PayPal or its iZettle subsidiary that are feeling “unusual pressure” on their cash flow. 

Read more here

Grocers leverage in-store tech during COVID-19

Keeping employees and shoppers safe during this uncertain time is top of mind for all grocers. As a result, supermarkets are cutting store hours to give employees time to replenish shelves; establishing shopping hours for senior citizens; deep cleaning store shelves, equipment and restrooms both during and after operating hours, and stepping up delivery and in-store pick-up options. Grocery chains are also relying on technology to safely service in-store shoppers amid COVID-19.

Read more here.

Nordstrom is first U.S. department store retailer to close stores due to COVID-19

Nordstrom Inc. expressed confidence in its ability to weather “this challenging moment in time” as it announced the closure of its U.S. and Canadian stores for two weeks to help limit the spread of COVID -19.

The move, effective March 17, affects the company’s 380 stores, including 116 full-line stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico; 248 Nordstrom Rack stores; three Jeffrey boutiques; two clearance stores; six Trunk Club clubhouses; and five Nordstrom Local service hubs. Nordstrom’s e-commerce operations, which made up about a third of its 2019 sales, will remain open for business. 

Read more here.

Study: COVID-19 has big impact on buyer decisions

Customers are shifting their preferences in which products they buy, and in what quantities, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Shopper intelligence/digital media provider Catalina Marketing is releasing sales tracking information from its buyer intelligence database that indicates dramatic changes in consumer behavior since mid-February. According to Catalina Marketing, between Feb. 15 (when consumer awareness of COVID-19 became widespread) and March 14, sales of powdered milk rose 375%. 

Read more here.

RPAI scales down redevelopment plans at Carillon

In reaction to the sudden economic downturn, Retail Properties of America, Inc., has decided to halt vertical construction plans at its Carillon project, which resides in Maryland between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Read more here

Exclusive: COVID-19 reveals fulfillment, workforce, store challenges

Chain Store Age survey reveals how COVID-19 is disrupting retail workflows including sales, customer experience, supply chain and workforce management. 

The online survey, conducted online via the Chain Store Age site from March 19-22, asked readers four questions about what impact, if any, the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is having on their enterprise. Here are the results. (Editor’s note: Due to rounding, responses to some questions may not total 100%).

Read more here

CSA Exclusive: COVID-19 has split impact on retail performance

COVID-19 is having a negative impact on sales for some retailers and is a boon for others.

Chain Store Age conducted a survey online from March 19-22 asking retailers about how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting retail workflows throughout the enterprise. A leading 39% of respondents said it has had a negative impact on sales. However, a combined 38% reported the virus has been a “goldmine” (18%) or created significant uptick (20%). 

Here are a few brief thoughts about the deeper implications of these results.

Read more here

Best Buy moves to curbside pickup only amid surging demand

Best Buy Corp. has shifted all its stores to curbside pickup only in an effort to help protect customers and employees and keep up with surging demand for home office products during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Except where otherwise directed by state and local authorities, the retailer, starting March 22, has shifted to enhanced curbside service only for all its stores on an interim basis. 

Read more here

Starbucks adopts drive-thru- and delivery-only model

Visitors to Starbucks stores will now need to be behind the wheel of a car.

In response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, Starbucks is closing all consumer access to its company-operated café stores, including patio seating, through at least Friday, April 3. Customers will need to purchase food and beverage via either drive-thru window or Starbucks Delivers on-demand delivery. The retailer plans to offer Starbucks Delivers nationwide by the end of April. 

Read more here.

Walmart, Walgreens open COVID-19 testing sites in store parking lots

Walmart and Walgreens have opened their first drive-thru coronavirus testing sites, with both chains launching the effort in the suburban Chicago area. 

The sites, similar to the testing site that opened in the parking lot of a CVS Health store in Shrewsbury, Mass., are being launched in partnership with the federal government. The Walmart sites are located in the parking lots outside a Walmart Supercenter in Northlake, Ill., and one in Joliet, Illinois. 

Read more here.

CVS Health embarks on ‘most ambitious hiring’ drive in its history

CVS Health hiring workers with virtual job fairs, providing bonuses and adding benefits in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In what it called “the most ambitious hiring drive” in the company's history, CVS Health plans to immediately fill 50,000 full-time, part-time and temporary roles across the country. The available positions include store associates, home delivery drivers, distribution center employees and member/customer service professionals. 

Read more here

Homeland Security: Food stores, carry-out/QSR, DC employees essential

The Department of Homeland Security released updated COVID-19 guidance identifying the “essential critical infrastructure workforce” during the ongoing national emergency.  

In a Memorandum of Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During Covid-19 Response, the department wrote: “If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.” (The guidance is advisory and is not a federal directive to states, meaning state and local governments are not required to provide the same level of recognition.)

Read more here.

Target increases wages of hourly store, DC employees; adds new leave program

Target Corp. is investing more than $300 million in added wages, a new paid leave program, bonus payouts and associate and community relief fund contributions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The discounter announced that all full-time and part-time hourly associates working in stores and distribution centers will receive a $2-per-hour wage increase through at least May 2. 

Read more here.

Etsy provides COVID-19 relief to sellers

A handmade and vintage goods e-commerce platform is introducing three new benefits for sellers who may be impacted by COVID-19.

In an open letter to sellers posted on the Etsy site, CEO Josh Silverman said the company is continuing all normal activities, as well as taking steps designed to bring to more buyers to sellers’ online shops. These include a $5 million investment through the end of April in the Offsite Ads program. 

Read more here

Walmart to hire 150,000 people amid COVID-19

Walmart is growing its workforce and expediting the hiring process to keep up with surging consumer demand during the coronavirus outbreak. It also announced $550 million in bonuses to reward workers. 

The nation’s largest private employer said it is hiring 150,000 new associates through the end of May to work in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers. The roles will be temporary at first, but many will convert to permanent roles over time, Walmart said.

Read more here.

Retail Insights: Becoming a digital retailer – quickly – in the face of COVID-19

There may soon be two types of retailers – the digital and the out-of-business.

I don’t need to explain COVID-19 and how it has completely changed the way consumers live and shop in the matter of a week. Many brick-and-mortar retailers are voluntarily shuttering stores, limiting hours and customer traffic, and/or adopting “to go”-only operational models during the pandemic. Increasingly, municipalities and states are passing restrictions on how consumers can congregate. Meanwhile, experts say it will be weeks or even months before the pandemic begins subsiding.

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These three states have classified grocery store workers as essential

As confusion reigns about what is considered essential retail amid the coronavirus outbreak, three states have taken action. More are likely to follow suit.  

Minnesota, Michigan and Vermont have classified grocery workers as members of the essential workforce, according to a report by CSA sister publication Progressive Grocer. As such, supermarket employees in will have access to child care in a similar way to health care workers.

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Joann Stores launches effort to make items to protect healthcare workers

Joann Stores is using its classrooms and supplies to mobilize crafters across the nation to help protect healthcare workers.

The arts-and-crafts retailer said that, beginning March 23 and while adhering to social distancing guidelines, it will open its classrooms to any who want to help make essential items for health care workers, including facemasks and covers, gowns and other items to donate to America’s hospitals.  

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Shipt to add thousands of shoppers for COVID-19 surge

In response to increased consumer demand for deliveries of grocery, household items, and medications due to the COVID-19 virus, Shipt is hiring shoppers in the metropolitan areas of Boston, Washington, D.C., Miami, New York City, Minneapolis, and Atlanta. Shipt seeks to add hundreds of shoppers each in Boston, Washington, D.C. and New York City; 1,000 shoppers in Atlanta; 2,000 shoppers each in Miami and Minneapolis; and 3,000 shoppers in Detroit. 

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Retailers: Distribution centers ‘essential’ to serving communities

As states and local municipalities put out conflicting reports on what type of businesses and facilities are “essential” during the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation’s two leading retail organizations say it’s critically important that distribution centers make the list. 

"Companies are working around the clock to ensure stores are stocked with the items that families need most during this crisis,” said RILA president Brian Dodge. “Absolutely essential to that goal, is the functional operation of distribution centers around the country. As we all do our part to manage the impact of COVID-19, ensuring our supply chains are as functional as they can be is crucial and we ask that policymakers make clear that distribution centers fall into that essential category." 

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Rite Aid expands delivery, takes other steps in response to COVID-19

A major drugstore retailer is easing access to its inventory and strengthening store sanitary practices.

To better support customers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rite Aid is rolling out several new services and protocols. These include the immediate availability of home delivery service upon request, with waived delivery service fees for eligible prescriptions. Controlled substances and/or refrigerated medications are not eligible for delivery.

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CVS Health opens first parking lot COVID-19 test site

In what is designed to serve as a model going forward, CVS Health has opened up a COVID-19 testing site in the parking lot of its store in Shrewsbury, Mass., about 50 miles west of Boston.

The site is not open to the general public. Instead, testing will initially focus on first responders and health care workers. CVS emphasized that the site does not administer tests on a walk-up or drive-up basis. The company closed the store to increase safety and make operations easier

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Report: Amazon asks for customer cooperation in possible price gouging  probe

Amazon is reportedly requesting that its customers share information with the Department of Justice (DOJ) if asked.

According to Reuters, the e-tailer sent an email to customers who may have placed orders with sellers on its third-party marketplace informing them they may be contacted by the DOJ. The email, sent from Amazon senior law enforcement response specialist Joell Parks, does not specify the exact nature of the DOJ investigation.

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Dollar Tree hiring 25,000 employees; 7-Eleven to add 20,00 jobs

Dollar Tree and 7-Eleven have joined the list of grocers, retailers and restaurant chains that are ramping up their hiring efforts to keep up with consumer demand in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The discounter plans to hire 25,000 full- and part-time associates at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores and distribution centers across the U.S.  The open positions include full- and part-time managers at the company’s more than 15,000 store locations, along with flexible part-time shifts for cashiers and stockers. The positions in Dollar Tree’s 24 distribution centers include order fillers, equipment operators, and warehouse associates.

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Westfield U.S. malls to close

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) has joined other major mall operators in temporarily closing its shopping centers.

The company announced that it is closing its shopping destinations in the United States for all but ‘essential’ retail outlets as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The centers are closed through Sunday, March 29 (or until otherwise instructed by local authorities), at which point the group will re-evaluate the situation.

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Amazon temporarily suspends Prime Pantry due to high order volume

Amazon’s Prime Pantry service, which offers household and non-perishable pantry items, is currently not accepting as it works to fulfill its backlog in the wake of increased demand due to the coronavirus. Customers who placed an order recently and are waiting on delivery, however, will still receive their shipment.

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Survey: 85% of Americans to alter buying habits because of COVID-19

The coronavirus has significant short- and long-term effects on brand affinity and consumer purchases in the U.S.

That’s according to a survey conducted during the last two days by research from GfK, which revealed that 67% of Americans are concerned about their ability to make ends meet during the crisis, and that 85%  expect to change their purchase behavior because of the virus.

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Report: Order fulfillment time up almost 40% in past three weeks

New data shows how COVID-19 is impacting shipping and fulfillment.

According to data from delivery experience management company Convey, shipping volume for cleaning and household supplies is, not surprisingly, up 52%. At the same time, there are significant delays in order fulfillment and delivery. 

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Taubman Centers temporarily closing all but two of its properties

Taubman Centers is going dark in response to COVID-19 with the exception of two outdoor centers. 

The real estate investment trust said its malls will close at the end of business on March 19 and will remain shuttered through March 29, or later if required by state or local government. Tenants at the company’s open-air, street-front retail centers – Country Club Plaza (Kansas City, Mo.) and International Market Place (Waikiki, Hawaii) – may continue to operate. The announcement comes on the heels of Simon’s decision to close all of its retail properties in the U.S. until March 29.

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Tractor Supply stores to remain open as an ‘essential, needs-based retailer’

Tractor Supply Company is committed to keeping its stores open during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Brentwood, Tenn.-based retailer sells “essential” items for the rural lifestyle, ranging from animal feed, livestock and pet medicines to agricultural supplies, and heating fuel along with hardware and maintenance supplies. Starting on March 22, Tractor Supply stores will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, until further notice. 

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Ross Stores reduces CAPEX plans due to coronavirus

Ross Stores is cutting back in response to the impact of COVID-19 on the company’s operations.

The off-price retailer said that it is reducing its capital expenditure and expense plans and realigning inventory positions to meet the current demand.

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Amazon warehouse worker tests positive for COVID-19

According to The Atlantic, Amazon has confirmed an hourly worker at its Queens, NY fulfillment facility (internally referred to as DBK1) tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, March 18. An independent group of Amazon employees called Amazonians United sent a text to employees at the center stating, “We’re writing to let you know that a positive case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) was found at our facility today.”

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Tailored Brands to temporarily close fulfillment centers, reduce cash outlays

Tailored Brands is shutting its e-commerce fulfillment centers and limiting or deferring all discretionary spending in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The menswear giant, whose brands include Men's Wearhouse, Jos. A. Bank, said it is taking “aggressive and prudent actions to ensure the business has ample liquidity to weather this uncertain period.” As a “proactive measure” and with an “abundance of caution,” on March 16, it drew down $260 million from its revolving credit facility.

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COVID-19 – How is it affecting your retail operations?

With this unprecedented public health crisis unfolding, Chain Store Age would like to give our readers the opportunity to share your own first-hand perspective on COVID-19. We encourage you to take a moment of your time and answer a quick, four-question survey to gauge how COVID-19 is affecting retailers in the areas of supply chain fulfillment, store operations, workforce management, and revenue. 

We will share results and insights from the survey on our website on Monday, March 23. Please share your valuable experience with the industry and help your fellow retailers survive and thrive in this uniquely challenging environment. We are all in this together.

Take our quick survey here

7-Eleven details enhanced cleaning, safety measures

7-Eleven has added a new payment option to customers concerned about contact amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

The convenience store chain is now offering a contactless delivery option that allows customers who order through its delivery app to indicate that their delivery be "contactless," with the goods left at the door by the driver. Items available include beverages, fresh and hot foods, household items, groceries and more.  

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Walmart, Walmart Foundation commit to global COVID-19 response effort

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have committed $25 million to support organizations on the front lines responding to the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

The funds will be used to strengthen the global public health response, bolster food security, and support the needs of local communities in the U.S. and internationally.

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ICSC asks government to guarantee or pay for business interruption coverage

In a statement, ICSC president and CEO Tom McGee noted that the majority of the estimated $6.7 trillion of consumer activity generated by the retail, food-and-beverage, entertainment and consumer service industries occurs within America’s shopping centers, with nearly one out of four American jobs retail-related. Nearly 70% of the shopping center tenants are small businesses that employ less than 10 people.

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Amazon donates to fight COVID-19 in the D.C. metro area

Amazon wants to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the Washington, D.C., region.

The e-tailer, whose “HQ2” second headquarters campus is located in the greater Washington, D.C., area in Arlington, Va., has donated $1 million to four community foundations. The non-profit groups – ACT for Alexandria, Arlington Community Foundation, Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, and the Greater Washington Community Foundation, will each use a portion of Amazon’s $1 million donation as flexible funds for grants to nonprofits addressing food insecurity, housing and shelter, and providing emergency financial assistance.

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COVID-19 Store Update: J.C. Penney, Gap Inc., Genesco shutter

More retailers are joining the growing list of companies that are temporarily closing their stores to help stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. (The nation’s largest mall operator, Simon, is also going dark.)

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Kroger has 10,000 job openings in wake of increased demand

The Kroger Co. has upped its hiring to keep up with increased consumer demand in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The nation’s largest supermarket chain hired more than 2,000 people in the last week to keep up with the surge in demand, CEO Rodney McMullen told CNBC on Tuesday. Kroger currently has more than 10,000 openings for positions across its plants, warehouses and stores, McMullen said.

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Nation’s biggest mall operator shuts off lights for a while

Simon’s domestic properties are dark in the U.S. until the end of March.

Simon announced that after “extensive discussions with federal, state and local officials and in recognition of the need to address the spread of COVID-19,” it will close all of its retail properties in the U.S. until March 29.

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Best Buy putting limit on in-store traffic to 10 to 15 customers at a time

At a time when consumers are more reliant on technology than ever before, Best Buy is taking action to keep up with consumer demand and help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The nation’s largest consumer electronics retailer said that starting Monday, March 23, and at least for the next two weeks, it will serve customers through limited access to its stores and curbside pickup. Only 10 to 15 customers at a time will be allowed into a Best Buy. (Also, as of March 18, store operating hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time.)

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Home Depot temporarily adjusts store hours, extends paid-off time in response to COVID-19

It’s not only grocers and Amazon that are selling high-demand items during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Home Depot said its stores will now close daily at 6 p.m. (opening hours will remain unchanged) to give stores the ability to staff appropriately and provide additional time to perform cleaning and restock shelves to keep up with demand.

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Batteries Plus Bulbs keeps the power on at stores, adds pickup service

A specialty electronics retailer is keeping stores open – with a new social distance option.

Batteries Plus Bulbs stores plan to remain open throughout the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The retailer says it supplies products and services that meet immediate customer needs or cannot be found elsewhere, such as batteries for wheelchairs and mobility scooters and sealed lead acid.

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Dollar General offer senior shoppers-only shopping hours

Dollar General Corp. wants to help senior shoppers "avoid busier and more crowded shopping periods."

The discounter announced that, starting March 17, it is dedicating the first hour of each shopping day in its approximate 16,275 stores nationwide to senior customers. Dollar General is requesting that other customers plan their shopping trips around this window order to provide seniors, one of the groups most at risk for Covid-19, with the ability to purchase the items they need and want at the beginning of each day to avoid busier and more crowded shopping periods. 

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Retail group calls for ‘bold’ economic COVID-19 solutions, suspension of tariffs

The Retail Industry Leaders Association detailed several economic measures that should be a part of a larger stimulus package to aid the broader U.S. economy in response to COVID-19. 

In a letter sent to President Trump, the Secretary of Treasury and Congressional leaders, RILA called for a temporary suspension of all Section 301 tariffs that have fallen “directly on the retail community.” It also said that to ensure supply chains remain as functional as possible, distribution centers should be included in any definition of “essential business.”

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Dunkin’ removes seating and limits service

Dunkin' is limiting service to drive-thru, carry-out and delivery only as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The restrictions, effective immediately, applies to all of Dunkin’s U.S. locations. The company said it is temporarily removing tables and chairs from all its locations and outdoor patios to prevent the congregation of customers. It also will encourage mobile ordering through the Dunkin' app to limit person-to-person contact and to move guests through the restaurants as quickly as possible, promote delivery service through Grubhub and other partners and expand curbside service where available.

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Amazon limits shipments to its warehouses to medical supplies, household staples

Surging consumer demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic has caused Amazon to temporarily stop accepting certain products in its warehouses. 

The online giant told sellers and vendors that it is prioritizing products coming into its fulfillment centers through its Fullfillment by Amazon program to free up inventory space for items that are currently in high demand due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The action is in place through April 5. (Shipments created before March 17 will still be received at fulfillment centers.)

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Amazon limits shipments to its warehouses to medical supplies, household staples

Surging consumer demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic has caused Amazon to temporarily stop accepting certain products in its warehouses. 

The online giant told sellers and vendors that it is prioritizing products coming into its fulfillment centers through its Fullfillment by Amazon program to free up inventory space for items that are currently in high demand due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The action is in place through April 5. (Shipments created before March 17 will still be received at fulfillment centers.)

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Wayfair, other retailers adjust online operations to deal with COVID-19

Retailers aren’t only adjusting their brick-and-mortar operations to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Several retailers are also taking action to help ensure their e-commerce business does not promote the spread of the virus to customers or employees. In an online letter signed by Wayfair co-founders Niraj Shah and Steve Conine, the online home furnishings giant said it is following guidance and best practices from the Centers from Disease Control (CDC). These include increased daily cleaning routines across all facilities and delivery operations (such as use of sanitizer and more frequent equipment cleaning).

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Target makes more store changes, adds employee benefits to deal with COVID-19

arget Corp. is reducing store hours, increasing select employee benefits and making other adjustments in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Beginning  March 18, all Target stores will open at their regularly scheduled times but close by 9 p.m. (local time) daily to give employees extra time for cleaning and restocking each day. The retailer also will maintain limits on select products and ask shoppers to purchase only what they need “so there's enough supply to accommodate this increased demand."

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Nordstrom, Macy's temporarily close stores

Two of the nation's premier department store retailers have closed their doors amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Nordstrom Inc. expressed confidence in its ability to weather “this challenging moment in time” as it announced the closure of its U.S. and Canadian stores for two weeks to help limit the spread of COVID-19.  The move affects the company’s 380 stores, including 116 full-line stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico; 248 Nordstrom Rack stores; three Jeffrey boutiques; two clearance stores; six Trunk Club clubhouses; and five Nordstrom Local service hubs. Nordstrom’s e-commerce operations, which made up about a third of its 2019 sales, will remain open for business. 

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