Neiman Marcus, Joann team up to sew masks, protective gear | Nike bets on digital sales to stay afloat in US, Europe | Apple eyes April store reopenings
March 25, 2020
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Neiman Marcus, Joann team up to sew masks, protective gear
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Fabric and crafts retailer Joann Stores has launched a project to produce non-surgical masks and other protective gear for health-care workers fighting the coronavirus. The retailer has partnered with Neiman Marcus on the project, and staffers for both retailers are sewing the items with donated fabrics at Neiman's alteration facilities in three states.
Full Story: The Dallas Morning News (tiered subscription model) (3/24),  MediaPost Communications (3/24) 
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Industry Watch
Nike survived the coronavirus outbreak in China as online sales soared, and the company expects similar results in the US and Europe, CEO John Donahoe said. Nike, which closed most stores outside China, South Korea and Japan on March 16, said it has reopened about 80% of its 7,000 stores in China and will reopen other locations on a store-by-store basis.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (3/24) 
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Apple eyes April store reopenings
(Jenny Evans/Getty Images)
Apple could start opening some of its stores outside China next month but will keep work-at-home options available for many employees through April 5 or later, the company said in a memo. The company has reopened all 42 of its stores in China.
Full Story: Bloomberg (tiered subscription model) (3/24) 
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CVS Health's plans to roll out more drive-in testing centers have been slowed by a lack of available protective equipment for workers, CEO Larry Merlo said. Employees performing tests need masks, gowns and gloves that must be changed for each new patient.
Full Story: CNBC (3/24) 
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Pier 1 Imports, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, has temporarily laid off 65% of its corporate staff amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the remaining headquarters employees will take pay cuts. Retail startup B8ta said it has furloughed 250 employees and instituted pay reductions for corporate staff.
Full Story: The Dallas Morning News (tiered subscription model) (3/24),  Women's Wear Daily (subscription required) (3/24) 
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Find COVID-19 updates and information for retailers in NRF's Coronavirus Resource Center.
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Retail Trends
Retailers deemed essential, including supermarket chains and pharmacies, are working to recruit and train the additional staff they need to keep shelves stocked and stores running. Walmart has cut the time it takes to make hiring decisions down to hours, CVS Health is doing virtual career fairs and interviews, and Save A Lot has asked people to text if they're looking for work.
Full Story: CNBC (3/24) 
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Coronavirus prompts retailers to change return policies
(iStock)
With many stores being closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, some retailers are extending the length of time for people to make returns until after stores reopen. Other retailers, such as Costco, are not accepting returns of particular items.
Full Story: NJ Advance Media (Morristown, N.J.) (3/24),  The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (3/19) 
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General merchandise retailers, food sellers and e-commerce giant Amazon are seeing sales soar during the pandemic, while retail segments deemed nonessential are suffering. General merchandise sellers generated 50% higher online sales on March 13 compared to the same day last year, according to Rakuten Intelligence.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (3/24) 
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NRF News
While retailers deemed "nonessential" have closed stores and sent employees home, others are hiring thousands of workers to meet increased consumer demand led by the COVID-19 crisis. Companies like Target and Walmart are increasing wages, offering staff bonuses and expediting hiring. Visit NRF's job board for more information on retail job opportunities.
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The first half of 2020 is forecast to see a total of 10.2 million cargo containers at major US ports used by retailers, down 2.8% from the same period last year. Source: NRF Global Port Tracker.
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Small businesses continue to serve customers during the coronavirus outbreak while respecting social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines. By utilizing curbside pickup, sending photos of items and allowing online payments, retailers are finding ways to remain in business. Read more.
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Chain Restaurant News
Roberta's in New York City and The Matador in Seattle are among the restaurants delivering free meals to hospitals for health care workers, and others have added hospital donation options to their delivery menus. "It was a privilege to be able to offer some form of comfort to those who have been working literally nonstop to help keep this pandemic at bay," said Roberta's co-owner Carlo Mirarchi.
Full Story: Eater (3/20) 
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