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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.