Target to outfit employees with gloves, masks | Home Depot to donate remaining stocks of N95 masks | Retail employee furloughs, jobless claims climb
April 3, 2020
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Target to outfit employees with gloves, masks
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Target's more than 350,000 store and warehouse employees will now be given gloves and face masks at the start of their shifts and will be encouraged to wear the protective gear while working, the retailer said. Stores will also start keeping track of the number of shoppers at any given time and set a limit if necessary.
Full Story: Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (tiered subscription model) (4/2) 
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Industry Watch
Home Depot to donate remaining stocks of N95 masks
(Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images)
Home Depot has ordered its stores to stop selling N95 masks and said it will donate the protective gear to first responders, hospitals and other health care workers. Rival home improvement retailer Lowe's said last week it was donating its supply of the masks to US medical centers.
Full Story: USA Today (4/1) 
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US retailers have furloughed around 900,000 employees as a result of coronavirus-related store closures, according to a Bloomberg analysis. First-time jobless claims hit 6.6 million last week, bringing the two-week total to almost 10 million.
Full Story: BNN Bloomberg (Canada) (4/2),  Women's Wear Daily (subscription required) (4/2) 
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J.C. Penney made its April rent payments for its nearly 850 US stores, the company said, but other retailers are holding back rent amid the coronavirus pandemic that has forced stores to close. Collectively, US retailers owe more than $20 billion in monthly rent to retail landlords.
Full Story: BNN Bloomberg (Canada) (4/2) 
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Arts and crafts retailers Hobby Lobby, Michaels and Jo-Ann Stores are keeping stores open in some US markets, saying they should be classified as "essential" because their stores stock supplies people can use to make protective masks. Officials in Minnesota and other regions disagree, and in Texas a Dallas County judge has ordered that Hobby Lobby stores close or face fines and possible jail time.
Full Story: The Dallas Morning News (tiered subscription model) (4/2),  Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (tiered subscription model) (4/2) 
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Find COVID-19 updates and information for retailers in NRF's Coronavirus Resource Center.
Retail Trends
Kroger to try one-way aisles to aid social distancing
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Kroger will soon test one-way aisles in its stores as another way to help with social distancing, protect its shoppers and employees and slow the spread of coronavirus. Kroger, which usually tries new ideas in select markets before rolling them out to all of its 2,757 stores, has not yet announced where the aisle test will take place.
Full Story: The Business Journals (tiered subscription model)/Cincinnati (4/2) 
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US retailers stand to lose billions of dollars in revenue to the coronavirus pandemic, NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. Retailers support more than 50 million jobs in the US, and NRF is urging the federal government to create a bridge that will get otherwise viable retailers through until they can reopen stores and bring furloughed employees back, he said.
Full Story: MSNBC (4/1) 
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Sales of new video games are on the rise around the world as consumers seek entertainment and new ways to connect with others while stuck inside. Nintendo's newest entry in the Animal Crossing series sold nearly 2 million copies in three days in Japan.
Full Story: CNBC (4/2) 
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NRF News
Small retailers are continuing to serve customers during the coronavirus outbreak while respecting social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines. By offering curbside pickup, sending photos of items and allowing online payments, retailers are finding ways to remain in business. Read more.
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About 16% of consumers surveyed by NRF said they would wait until this month to file their taxes. Source: NRF.
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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act offers relief to retailers through loans and tax measures intended to help small and large companies alike stay in business and keep workers on the payroll. Small Business Administration loans made available under the legislation become available today. Read more.
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Chain Restaurant News
Chipotle Mexican Grill isn't putting new menu item development on hold but it is postponing release plans until after the pandemic. New items in the works include brisket and cauliflower rice, CEO Brian Niccol said.
Full Story: CNBC (4/2) 
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