Openbravo’s Good News in Retail This Week: April 14
This week brings more news of retailers rebooting operations, adapting to increased online traffic, finding innovative ways to generate revenue, and meeting the challenges brought on by coronavirus…
NEXT Starts Its Retail Reboot with Online Operations
Two weeks after the beloved British fashion retailer took the decision to shut down all operations, NEXT is set to start its online operations again, but gradually and with employee safety at the forefront. Measures include new one-way systems and walkways that mean employees won’t have to cross paths as often, as well as limiting their offerings so that employees are not over-extended.
Carrefour Taps Take-Out Delivery Service to Fulfill Online Orders
Like most grocery stores, Carrefour in Spain reports that online orders have multiplied by tenfold or more, and has teamed up with Barcelona-based take-out food delivery service Glovo to reinforce their capacity for deliveries. While there is an added delivery charge, UberEats and Deliveroo are now offering the service for Carrefour in France as well as other grocery chains, enabling people to order ready-made food baskets directly on their websites. Will people get used to the convenience and will this trend continue after lockdowns have been lifted?
Will Customers Embrace John Lewis’ New Virtual Shopping Services?
In addition to delivering care packages to the UK’s busiest hospitals, British department store John Lewis announced it will offer free one-on-one consultations that enables sales associates to connect with customers about anything from personal style to home design and gourmet foods. Other retailers, like these British garden centers, are already picking up on this trend using existing video call apps and Instagram, but will the trend inspire retailers to consider more sophisticated apps like Hero as quarantines gradually lift around the world?
Coach Makes 3D Printers Available to Hospitals and Researchers
Meanwhile, Tapestry, the parent company of Coach and Kate Spade, announced an employee-initiated volunteer program to repurpose its existing 3D printers to make disposable parts required for respirators and ventilators, test swabs, face shields, and other prototypes needed by engineers and specialists working on COVID-19 related projects. This commitment is in addition to the $2 million earmarked to help small businesses overcome challenges in New York City, along with more funding for initiatives in Europe and the UK.
Ralph Lauren Starts PPE Production as Execs Take a Pay Cut
The Ralph Lauren Corporation has started production on 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns, while committing $10 million which will be donated to the WHO’s COVID Response Fund as well as to increasing support for its existing cancer initiatives, making funds available to staff with extraneous health needs, and contributing to Vogue Fashion Fund for COVID-19 relief. In addition, Ralph Lauren has also joined other retail executives in forgoing his salary and bonus for 2021, while the CEO will take a 50% pay cut and the remaining 140 executives reduce their salaries by 20% for the first quarter of fiscal 2021.
Primark Sets Example for Social Responsibility in Bangladesh
One of the biggest questions for retailers this month was whether they would be able to honor their existing orders from suppliers from low-wage countries like Bangladesh. No retailer can afford to be stuck with inventory they are unable to move, and yet retailers must determine what is the most socially responsible alternative. Primark may have cancelled future orders, but it has also committed to paying the wages of all its textile workers in Bangladesh until orders can resume.
Danone España Maintains Essential Operations Through Lockdown
While Spain has had one of the strictest quarantine lockdowns in place for the last month, Danone paid all of its employees and offered bonuses to those who made it possible for the company to continue production for yoghurt, water, and baby food which was then donated to hospitals, care homes, food banks, the Red Cross, and other charitable entities.
Can Small Retailers Pivot Their Business Model to Survive?
For many companies, survival has been possible by flipping, or “pivoting” their business model quickly. But what does that mean? Well, there are more ways than one. Madrid-based cookie cutter company have switched to printing nifty face masks and selling them on Etsy, while others have turned to lockdown survival kits, care packages, and gift boxes. Think, everything you need to start painting, or knitting, or any other hobby or activity – in a box.
Stay home, stay well, and stay tuned for Openbravo’s Good News in Retail next week!