May 3, 2021
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Top Story
CVS Health launched a pilot program in January that put licensed clinical social workers in stores in three markets to help customers who are struggling with issues to access services and mental health care. Eve Townsend, a social worker at a CVS store in suburban Philadelphia, says her job is to listen to what each person needs and then advocate for them with area agencies that can help.
Full Story: Mashable (5/2) 
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On May 18th, Icertis will host an online experience with leaders from Retail, CPG, and Supply Chain to discuss how top organizations are addressing today's biggest challenges across the value chain and reimagining the source-to-sale journey. Register Now.
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Industry Watch
Google Pay helps Safeway, Target shoppers find deals
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)
An update to Google Pay is making it easier for shoppers to find deals at 500 Safeway stores and all of Target's sites in the US. The new version of the platform features a "View Weekly Deals" section that also offers push notifications for Safeway and Target shoppers, along with an online method for tracking grocery spending.
Full Story: Progressive Grocer (4/30),  Supermarket News (free registration) (4/30) 
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Tiffany designs men's engagement rings
(Kate Green/Getty Images)
Tiffany & Co. has created its first engagement ring line for men and named it after the luxury jewelry retailer's founder, Charles Lewis Tiffany. The rings, already available online and rolling out to some stores this month, represent the jeweler's effort to court new customers amid a global rise in same-sex marriage.
Full Story: CNBC (4/30) 
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Dollar General opened 1,000 new stores in 2020 and increased productivity at existing locations as its stores stayed open during the pandemic, Chief Merchandising Officer Emily Taylor says. She talks about reacting to the pandemic early on, perception versus reality about who shops in discount stores and what it takes to keep a more than 80-year-old retailer in growth mode.
Full Story: Women's Wear Daily (subscription required) (5/3) 
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Showcase at NRF's Innovation Lab in New York, January 2022
Do you have a technology that solves a problem for retailers? Showcase it in the NRF Innovation Lab at NRF 2022: Retail's Big Show, January 2022 and get in front of hundreds of retailers and brands. Learn more and apply by May 31st. Qualified companies will be contacted after June 15th.
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Retail Trends
Surging demand for wood for DIY projects and new home construction over the past year has sent lumber prices to record highs, with futures for May deliveries at about four times what they typically are at this time of year. While demand soared, sawmills slowed production as the pandemic forced many to send employees home, and production is still down about 16% from its 2006 peak, according to the Federal Reserve.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (5/3) 
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Entrepreneurs looking to get their products on the shelves in national retailers like Target and Whole Foods Market require a social media following as well as a sales track record, Naturalicious founder and CEO Gwen Jimmere advises. Jimmere and other Black female entrepreneurs share their tips for securing national retail partnerships.
Full Story: CNBC (5/2) 
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Office workers and tourists have largely been absent from parts of Manhattan that were bustling before the pandemic, a trend that has taken a toll on small merchants that depend on daily traffic. Landlords have negotiated breaks on the rent for shops in Midtown and the Financial District, but many small businesses are still struggling to stay afloat until the crowds return.
Full Story: The New York Times (5/2) 
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NRF News
It's Small Business Week and NRF is celebrating the adaptability and service of small retailers over the last year. Mission-driven small businesses like It's NOLA in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Stephenson's of Elkhart in Elkhart, Ind., are inspired to make change and are paying it forward in their communities. Join them tomorrow, May 4, at the Retail Advocates Town Hall. Learn more.
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About 49% of consumers plan to give mom a special outing for Mother's Day this year. Source: NRF's annual 2021 Mother's Day survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.
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Fire Grounds Coffee is a coffee company built for first responders. The product behind Strong Family Bonds was built from a love of barbecuing. And Air Force veteran-owned company Pride Road grows and creates hibiscus-based products. Learn more about how a passion for creating delicious food and drinks inspired these small businesses.
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Chain Restaurant News
Noodles & Company set new sales records in April with average unit volumes at company-owned locations up 13% over the same month in 2019. The Colorado-based chain plans to open up to 15 new restaurants this year, and it will expand the menu nationwide with the addition of a tortelloni dish that has proved popular in test markets.
Full Story: Restaurant Business online (4/30),  Nation's Restaurant News (free registration) (4/30) 
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Michael Collins,
NASA astronaut, command module pilot for the Apollo 11 mission to the moon
1930-2021
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