Pandemic-era trends buoyed Best Buy | Macy's sees gradual recovery from pandemic slowdown | Kroger offers shoppers online nutrition help
May 22, 2020
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Top Story
Pandemic-era trends buoyed Best Buy
(Frederic Brown/Getty Images)
Best Buy's pre-pandemic investments in tech and e-commerce paid off as the retailer closed its stores to all but curbside pickup. Demand for computers and gaming consoles soared as consumers across the country switched to working from home, and the retailer is focused on safety as it reopens stores to customers by appointment only, CEO Corie Barry said.
Full Story: Forbes (5/21),  CNBC (5/21) 
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[Webinar] Business resilience in times of change
Businesses that have reacted quickly and incorporated planning for times of change into their strategies for the future will be the ones that emerge successfully in the age of COVID-19. This webinar will focus on how leaders can support their employees today and better prepare their businesses for future challenges. Register Now
Industry Watch
Macy's sees gradual recovery from pandemic slowdown
(Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
Macy's expects to report a first-quarter operating loss of between $905 million and $1.11 billion on projected sales of about $3 billion, down from $5.5 billion in the same period last year. "We anticipate that our sales recovery will be gradual and that for a period of time, we will be a smaller company," CEO Jeff Gennette said.
Full Story: Reuters (5/21) 
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Kroger offers shoppers online nutrition help
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Kroger has introduced a new telenutrition service aimed at helping shoppers make healthier food choices for cooking at home during the pandemic. Part of Kroger Health's Food as Medicine platform, the online option offers a free initial consultation with a registered dietitian, who can then help customers create healthy eating plans for themselves and their families based on their individual circumstances.
Full Story: Supermarket News (free registration) (5/21) 
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Mall owners and other retail landlords are looking to compel J. Crew to pay rent on stores that are reopening across the country. The retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month and has asked the court to allow it to defer all rent payments until July 6 to conserve cash.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (5/21) 
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Reopen Stores Safely with Location Data
Retailers are using indoor positioning technology to identify opportunities to improve store safety and traffic flow after COVID-19. This webinar on May 26th at 12pm PST will explain how location technology and analytics can help retailers mitigate risk as they reopen stores. Register Today.
Retail Trends
The pandemic has led several retailers, including J.C. Penney and Neiman Marcus, to file for bankruptcy protection, a trend that's likely to create new sales opportunities for Macy's, CEO Jeff Gennette said. "We see there's about $10 billion worth of opportunity that's up for grabs right now based on what's going on with the competitive climate," he said.
Full Story: CNBC (5/21) 
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Retailers including American Eagle Outfitters and Sephora have spent years innovating the in-store experience to encourage shoppers to linger and browse, but the pandemic has made many of those changes unsafe. As retailers reopen, they're paring down the merchandise selection and reorganizing stores to maintain safe distances, limiting the number of shoppers allowed in at one time, and requiring masks, all of which add up to a changed shopping experience.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (5/21) 
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The results of the pandemic haven't been spread evenly among all retail segments -- department stores and apparel retailers that were forced to close their stores in mid-March and are only now starting to reopen have felt significant effects. In addition to health concerns, worries about employment and finances could keep consumers from heading out to shop, GlobalData Retail's Neil Saunders said.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (5/21) 
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Consumer Spending Trends
Sponsored content from Commerce Signals
Consumer Spending Data by Industry during COVID-19
Total U.S. consumer spending was down 11% in March due to the impact of COVID-19, but some consumer categories felt the impact far more than others. Airline purchases, for example, were down 67% for the month and 92% in the last week. Grocery, meanwhile, was up 29% in March. Read the article
NRF News
As consumers spend more time at home, Crate & Barrel is rethinking how to bring joy to their spaces. Watch CEO Neela Montgomery speak to NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay about leading in crisis and how the retailer is adapting its business model for online consumers through virtual selling, user-generated content and other strategies. Watch the full interview.
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More than nine in 10 consumers have changed their shopping habits due to COVID-19. Source: NRF.
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Grocery supply chains have risen to the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and are providing employment opportunities for displaced workers. Analyst Sucharita Kodali says the biggest challenge has been worker safety and preventing the spread of the virus. Read more.
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Chain Restaurant News
Taco Bell plans 30,000 new hires this summer
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Taco Bell will add 30,000 or more employees this summer, many of whom will fill new roles created to maintain safety standards as restaurants reopen. Other new posts will be dedicated to helping manage the rising demand for off-premises dining.
Full Story: Nation's Restaurant News (free registration) (5/21) 
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Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Monday
In observance of Memorial Day in the US, SmartBrief will not publish Monday. Publication will resume Tuesday.
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