Home Depot is giving thermometers to all store and distribution center staffers and asking them to take their temperatures and check for fevers before each shift. The retailer is also limiting the number of shoppers allowed in each store at once to 100 and expanding paid sick time for older and higher-risk employees.
Apparel manufacturer Under Armour has begun producing disposable face masks at a Baltimore lab-turned-factory to be used by health care workers. The one-piece masks are made without sewing, and the company hopes to produce 100,000 each week.
The retail industry is likely to survive the coronavirus crisis and ultimately get back to normal, but it's still painful now to have to make decisions about store closures, furloughs and layoffs, Foot Locker President and CEO Dick Johnson said. "I'm not sure that anybody had a strong pandemic page in their playbook. A lot of the things we're all learning are on the fly and as we react to news," he said.
Panic-buying during the pandemic has put pressure on Dollar Tree's supply chains, but about $1 billion in merchandise is on its way to stores, CEO Gary Philbin said. Dollar Tree operates 24 distribution centers and 15,000 stores in the US and Canada under its namesake and Family Dollar banners.
Macy's is doing what it needs to do to get through the pandemic and the department store retailer is poised to survive when the crisis ends, PVH CEO Manny Chirico said. PVH's brands, which include Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, are sold at Macy's and other major retailers.
Consumers' emotions are playing a big role in buying decisions during the pandemic, and retailers and brands must strike the right tone in messaging to win them over, consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow said. "For the businesses that look warm and generous and caring during this crisis ... rather than impersonal and bureaucratic, there's truly an opportunity to have longer term, deeper relationship with consumers," she said.
The coronavirus pandemic has driven shockwaves through retail and other industries, but the nation's economy was healthy before the outbreak and the downturn is more likely to be short-term rather than long-term, NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. One complication is that the Commerce Department's report on March sales later this month might not paint an accurate picture because many retailers weren't able to report their data.
Direct-to-consumer brands and e-commerce platforms are using their digital capabilities to help their brand and retail partners make and fulfill online sales. Upscale watch platform Hodinkee has made space on its online site for both retail partners and watch brands to make direct sales.
The coronavirus-fueled surge in panic shopping spurred University of Texas students Rithwik Pattikonda and Darshan Bhatta to create Instok.org. The site, which signed more than 300,000 users in its first two weeks, lets users search by ZIP code to find retailers in their area that have the items they need in stock.
A surge in online ordering and cooking at home during the coronavirus outbreak could mean a revival for meal kit company Blue Apron. Customer counts were falling before the pandemic but began growing in March, and the company is creating about 300 new jobs in New Jersey and California.
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