January 14, 2022
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Top Story
Some CVS, Walgreens pharmacies closing on weekends
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Walgreens Boots Alliance and CVS Health have been closing some pharmacies on the weekends because they don't have enough employees to keep them up and running amid the rise in COVID-19 cases related to the Omicron variant. Both chains, which combined operate about 20,000 US pharmacies that are key providers of COVID-19 testing and vaccines, are struggling as more staffers are either out sick, isolating while awaiting test results or caring for family members with COVID-19.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (1/14) 
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Your Bridge to Success
Build the bridge that keeps your customers coming back. At Affinity Group, we don't just work with food, we live and breathe food. Our talented team of Foodservice experts give you direct access to the insights, solutions and inspiration you need to take your business to the next level. Learn how our talented team of sales pros can help your brand today.
Industry Watch
J.C. Penney has launched its newest private-label line, Hope & Wonder, which will create collections around significant cultural events and donate 100% of the profits to related causes. The first collection of shirts, mugs, planners and other merchandise will launch to commemorate Black History Month, and proceeds will go to the nonprofit Black Girls Smile.
Full Story: The Dallas Morning News (tiered subscription model) (1/13) 
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Q4 retail sales closed strong despite Dec. dip
(Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
US retail sales fell 1.9% in December from the previous month, according to the Commerce Department, reflecting a combination of inflation and supply chain glitches that spurred consumers to do more of their holiday shopping earlier than usual. Total sales for the last three months of 2021 were up 17.1% from the year-ago period.
Full Story: CNBC (1/14),  The Wall Street Journal (1/14),  The New York Times (1/14) 
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  • According to NRF's calculations, retail sales during the November and December holiday season grew 14.1% over 2020 to $886.7 billion, beating NRF's forecast and setting a new record despite challenges. Read more from NRF.
Walmart has rolled out an online shopping tool from Sifter SP that automatically helps customers purchase products that fit their lifestyle and dietary needs. The Shop by Diet platform is available online and allows consumers to sort through purchases based on parameters that can include diets, allergies, medical conditions and even product sustainability.
Full Story: Progressive Grocer (1/12) 
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Meet us at NRF Retail's Big Show
The NRF Retail's Big Show 2022 is here! Join us in NYC to hear from retail leaders and peers, discuss your 2022 strategy, and enter to win a Lucidworks VIP experience during the conference. Check out what we're up to and sign up for exciting activities at NRF 2022.
Retail Trends
Supermarkets around the country are grappling with labor shortages as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, leading to more employee absences even as demand for groceries grows. While some are trimming hours and services, others report using temporary employment services and increasing hours for existing employees, and Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle has been sending corporate employees to fill in at stores.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (1/13) 
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Fashion retailer Aritzia's everyday luxury approach paid off in the third quarter with sales and revenue that topped pre-pandemic levels. The brand, which operates boutiques in the US and Canada, also saw a jump last month when Jennifer Lopez praised Aritzia's Super Puff puffer coat in posts on Twitter and Instagram.
Full Story: Forbes (tiered subscription model) (1/13) 
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How Target Uses Data to Build on Momentum and Win in Retail Operations
In this NRF session, learn how Target organized their data assets into an analytics platform that helps optimize supply chain, stores, and digital operations. Register here.
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    Policy and Government Affairs
    The Supreme Court has blocked enforcement of the Biden administration's mandate calling for companies with 100 or more employees to require that all staffers be vaccinated or show a negative COVID-19 test each week. "While NRF has maintained a strong and consistent position related to the importance of vaccines in helping to overcome this pandemic, the Supreme Court's decision to stay OSHA's onerous and unprecedented [Emergency Temporary Standard] is a significant victory for employers," said David French of NRF which, along with more than 26 other trade groups, argued against the mandate in front of the court.
    Full Story: CNBC (1/13),  CNN (1/13),  Progressive Grocer (1/13),  Chain Store Age (1/13) 
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    NielsenIQ Retail: Data. Intelligence. Analytics.
    In today's ever-changing retail landscape, it is paramount to be agile and pivot to survive. Heading to NRF's Big Show, January 16-18 in NYC? Meet the NielsenIQ Retail team at booth #703 to find out how you can accelerate decisions with confidence and position your enterprise for the shopper of today and tomorrow. Learn more.
    NRF News
    Leaders from some of the world's largest retailers including Best Buy, Old Navy and PepsiCo are among a slate of speakers who will make their debut on the main stage at NRF 2022: Retail's Big Show. "This talented group will offer their global insights and expertise on timely industry topics including consumerism, customer loyalty, merchandising and corporate social responsibility," NRF Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President of Content and Membership Martine Reardon said. Read more.
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    Grocery and beverage store sales were up 1.3% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 8.8% unadjusted year over year. Source: NRF.
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    This week on the Retail Gets Real podcast: Retail's Big Show is the "big game" for the retail industry and is back in person Jan. 16-18 in New York City for its 112th meeting. There will be discussions on diversity and inclusion, corporate social responsibility, what's new in customer experience, omnichannel, new business models and more. Learn more and listen to the episode.
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    Chain Restaurant News
    Hopdoddy Burger Bar will buy Grub Burger Bar for an undisclosed amount and will combine both Texas-based brands under a new company called HiBar Hospitality Group. The deal will create a combined company with 51 restaurants across the US.
    Full Story: Nation's Restaurant News (free registration) (1/13) 
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    What trends will move digital commerce in 2021?
    Pivotree experts share their predictions for 2022 across three critical areas of commerce: Supply Chain, eCommerce, and Data Management. Join us for an interactive chat to find out when and how supply chain woes could ease up, the trends we expect to accelerate, and 3 areas of CX to focus on. Register for the webinar.
    Editor's Note
    SmartBrief will not publish Monday, Jan. 17
    SmartBrief will not publish Monday, Jan. 17, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US.
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