Stay-at-home directives drive toy, game sales at Hasbro | Sources: Neiman Marcus could file bankruptcy to cut debt | CVS, Dollar General ramp up hiring plans amid pandemic
March 24, 2020
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Toy-maker Hasbro has seen demand for games and toys surge as families and children remain at home during the coronavirus pandemic, and the company's suppliers in China are now operating again, CEO Brian Goldner said. The company will roll out new products and a program dubbed "Bring Home the Fun" to help entertain and educate kids.
Full Story: CNBC (3/23) 
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Industry Watch
Neiman Marcus has held early stage talks with lenders about the possibility of securing financing as part of a bankruptcy filing in an effort to lessen its $4.3 billion in debt, sources said. There are no firm plans for a bankruptcy filing, and the retailer, which temporarily shuttered its stores last week because of the coronavirus pandemic, has not commented.
Full Story: BNN Bloomberg (Canada) (3/23) 
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CVS, Dollar General ramp up hiring plans amid pandemic
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Dollar General and CVS Health have announced plans to hire 50,000 new employees each in the coming weeks to meet growing demand amid the coronavirus pandemic. Dollar General will add nearly twice as many new staffers as it initially planned by the end of April, and CVS will also pay one-time bonuses of $150 to $500 to pharmacists and hourly employees.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (3/23),  USA Today (3/23) 
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Nordstrom takes steps to survive the pandemic
(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Nordstrom has tapped $800 million of its credit line, suspended dividends and stock buybacks and will cut an additional $500 million from spending plans this year as it shores up to survive the coronavirus outbreak. "We are proactively taking steps to strengthen our financial flexibility to help us navigate through this unprecedented situation," CEO Erik Nordstrom said.
Full Story: Women's Wear Daily (subscription required) (3/23),  CNBC (3/23) 
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Costco copes with anxious crowds
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Sales at Costco are soaring in the coronavirus outbreak and frontline employees are helping anxious customers stock up on supplies while enforcing limits on in-demand items. Some members have taken to setting up chairs outside an Oregon Costco store to be first in and, on a recent Friday, 660 cardholders entered the store within the first 15 minutes after it opened.
Full Story: Adweek (tiered subscription model) (3/23) 
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Find COVID-19 updates and information for retailers in NRF's Coronavirus Resource Center.
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Retail Trends
In addition to food, toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other household and protective goods, consumers stuck at home are also buying products to help them stay connected and entertained, consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow says. Jigsaw puzzles and board games have been top sellers on Amazon, and sales of yoga mats and other fitness gear are also on the rise.
Full Story: CNBC (3/23) 
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The US fashion industry will need federal help to survive the coronavirus pandemic, said Tom Ford, designer and chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The $400 billion industry employs 4 million people, not including retail employees, and in New York City it employs 4.6% of the total private-sector workforce.
Full Story: Women's Wear Daily (free content) (3/23) 
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Grocers rethink supply chain strategies amid pandemic
(Mandel Ngan/Getty Images)
Grocers in recent years have created more supply chain efficiencies, resulting in lower inventory levels in stores and warehouses. Now, as consumers stockpile items during the coronavirus pandemic, retailers and manufacturers such as General Mills have reversed course and are focused on ramping up production to keep shelves stocked.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (3/23) 
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Policy and Government Affairs
NRF has taken a lead role in a growing effort to push Congress to pass emergency aid that would help keep the retail industry afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic. A retail working group led by high-profile executives such as Tory Burch is urging the passage of relief measures including loans to retail landlords to allow them to forgive rents, grants to keep retail employees on the payroll and relief from tariffs and duties for about a year.
Full Story: The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (3/23),  Modern Retail (tiered subscription model) (3/24) 
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NRF News
Project Runway stars Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are hosts and executive producers of a new Amazon series where 12 designers compete to create the next global fashion brand, with the winning collection available for purchase on Amazon worldwide. "Making the Cut" will air Friday. Read more.
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Over one-third of consumers feel they have less free time now compared with five years ago. Source: NRF's Winter 2020 Consumer View.
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NRF has released updated results of its retail member survey about changing workplace policies surrounding COVID-19, including travel policies and personnel issues. This is a members-only resource. Log in to access.
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Chain Restaurant News
Buffalo Wild Wings shows "Sports Live On"
(Buffalo Wild Wings/YouTube)
The Martin Agency's 30-second spot for Buffalo Wild Wings, "Sports Live On," consists of user-generated content from Instagram showing the innovative ways fans are finding to enjoy their favorite sports at home. "People are taking a pretty scary situation, an isolated situation [and] they're creating new ways to keep their passion for sports alive," says Graham Unterberger of The Martin Agency.
Full Story: Ad Age (tiered subscription model) (3/23) 
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