July 30, 2021
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Target to invest $75M in new round of employee bonuses
Target will pay a $200 bonus in August to all full- and part-time store and distribution center employees and some corporate staffers who support customer and employee contact centers. It's the sixth round of employee bonuses the retailer has paid out since the pandemic began, and a report released late last year by the Brookings Institution found that Target, Best Buy and Home Depot have provided the biggest pay raises and bonuses to employees during the pandemic.
Full Story: Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (tiered subscription model) (7/29) 
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Emarsys Presents: US Retail Insights
Emarsys showcases pioneering marketing speakers, globally renowned brands, and compelling retail stories. Sit back and get exclusive insights from the world's leading retail brands including:
• Home Depot
• Char-Broil
• Instant Brands
• Gymshark
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Industry Watch
Albertsons is preparing for the possibility of bringing back COVID-19 restrictions because of rising cases brought on by the Delta variant of the coronavirus. CEO Vivek Sankaran said the grocer is actively discussing possible new restrictions and will be prepared to enact them if needed.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (7/29) 
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Walmart and Walgreens are two high-profile companies that are diving into banking and financial services as a way to further build on customer relationships and drive more business to their stores and e-commerce sites. Walgreens will launch online and in-store bank accounts this year with partner InComm Payments, and Walmart plans an array of financial services with its new fintech arm, Hazel, created in partnership with Ribbit Capital.
Full Story: Fast Company (tiered subscription model) (7/29) 
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Beauty conglomerate L'Oreal reported a 34% increase in sales in the quarter ending June 30, as consumers prepared to resume social occasions after pandemic-related quarantines and lockdowns. Skin care brands saw continued strong sales, and increased demand for makeup and perfume further buoyed sales.
Full Story: Bloomberg (7/29) 
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Retail Trends
Forty-nine percent of women said they plan to do more hiking and walking this year, compared with 46% of men, according to NPD Group research that highlights opportunities outdoor gear brands and retailers have to grow sales to women. Men's hiking boots made up 70% of sales in the category in the first half of the year, and brands are missing out on sales by failing to produce boots designed for women's feet and style preferences, NPD's Matt Powell said.
Full Story: Footwear News (7/29) 
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CDC guidance reignites mask sales
(Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
Mask sales began to wane earlier this year, but they're on the rise again and expected to grow further after the CDC's latest recommendation that vaccinated people start wearing masks in certain settings. Mask sales grew 24% in the seven-day period ending Tuesday, compared to the previous week, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.
Full Story: The Associated Press (7/29) 
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NRF News
As more of the country gets vaccinated against COVID-19, events like weddings could see a boom as couples revisit their ceremony plans. No one has their finger on the pulse of weddings more than David's Bridal CEO Jim Marcum. In the latest episode of the Retail Gets Real podcast, Marcum shares how the company approached digital innovation during the pandemic and what's ahead as more couples gather their friends and families to say "I do." Read more and listen to the episode.
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Total spending on back-to-college is expected to reach $71 billion. Source: NRF's Annual 2021 Back-to-School Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.
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The NRF NXT Webinar Series is a new FREE event live and on-demand for anyone interested in the future of digital commerce. Tune in for insightful sessions each week on topics like sustainability, the future of stores, AI and more, all under an hour. Get updates now.
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Chain Restaurant News
Yum Brands' sales top pre-pandemic levels
(Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Yum Brands reported a 30% jump in second-quarter same-store sales at KFC, which saw soaring demand for chicken sandwiches. Yum also owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Habit Burger Grill, and same-store sales at all four chains were up compared to the same period in 2019.
Full Story: Restaurant Business (7/29),  Nation's Restaurant News (free registration) (7/29),  Reuters (7/29) 
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David A. Sinclair,
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