Target's more than 350,000 store and warehouse employees will now be given gloves and face masks at the start of their shifts and will be encouraged to wear the protective gear while working, the retailer said. Stores will also start keeping track of the number of shoppers at any given time and set a limit if necessary.
Home Depot has ordered its stores to stop selling N95 masks and said it will donate the protective gear to first responders, hospitals and other health care workers. Rival home improvement retailer Lowe's said last week it was donating its supply of the masks to US medical centers.
US retailers have furloughed around 900,000 employees as a result of coronavirus-related store closures, according to a Bloomberg analysis. First-time jobless claims hit 6.6 million last week, bringing the two-week total to almost 10 million.
Arts and crafts retailers Hobby Lobby, Michaels and Jo-Ann Stores are keeping stores open in some US markets, saying they should be classified as "essential" because their stores stock supplies people can use to make protective masks. Officials in Minnesota and other regions disagree, and in Texas a Dallas County judge has ordered that Hobby Lobby stores close or face fines and possible jail time.
US retailers stand to lose billions of dollars in revenue to the coronavirus pandemic, NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. Retailers support more than 50 million jobs in the US, and NRF is urging the federal government to create a bridge that will get otherwise viable retailers through until they can reopen stores and bring furloughed employees back, he said.
Amazon will now restrict sales of face masks and shields, surgical gloves and large-volume hand sanitizer to government agencies and hospitals. Consumers won't be able to buy the products, and eligible organizations will be required to register and be approved before purchasing coronavirus protective product supplies.
Amazon has filled 80,000 of the 100,000 jobs created to help fulfill growing demand during the pandemic, the company said. The e-commerce giant also said it will start providing masks and taking employees' temperatures at fulfillment centers in the US and Europe, as well as at Whole Foods Market stores.
Direct-to-consumer brands including Allbirds, Warby Parker and Casper have grown sales and won loyal fans with digital-first strategies. Consumers' shift to online shopping during the pandemic could drive some sales growth for these companies, but they're also likely to feel some of the pinch as consumers tighten up on spending, according to a new industry analysis.
The plethora of neighbourhood grocery stores called kiranas are helping keep India's consumers supplied with groceries amid the pandemic that has taken a toll on the operations of major supermarkets and online grocers. Kirana owners say they are avoiding shortages by going to distributors' warehouses to pick up goods instead of waiting for deliveries.
Nova Scotia-based Stanfield's Ltd., best known for its long johns, has secured the fabric it needs to start making protective gowns for healthcare workers. The work will bring back 75 of the factory's more than 200 employees who were laid off recently because of the coronavirus outbreak.
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