|Bid||115.38 x 1200|
|Ask||115.48 x 1200|
|Day's range||113.15 - 116.19|
|52-week range||96.79 - 128.08|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||0.43|
|PE ratio (TTM)||22.26|
|Earnings date||18 May 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||2.16 (1.88%)|
|Ex-dividend date||06 May 2020|
|1y target est||130.03|
'Any associate with a temperature of 100.0 degrees will be paid for reporting to work and asked to return home and seek medical treatment if necessary,' CEO John Furner said.
Today, in a corporate blog post, John Furner, President & CEO, Walmart U.S. and Kath McLay, President & CEO, Sam’s Club released the following information:
Britons made over 79 million extra grocery shopping trips in the four weeks to March 21 year-on-year as they stocked their "pandemic pantries", driving a 20.5% jump in supermarket sales, industry data published on Tuesday showed. Market researcher Nielsen said British consumers spent an additional 1.9 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) on groceries. The data showed that in the week ending March 21, two days before Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the full UK lockdown to try to contain the coronavirus spread, sales rose 43% compared to the same period last year.
With coronavirus spreading far and wide, more and more people are adopting online grocery delivery services in order to maintain social distancing
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- In the pre-coronavirus world, retailers big and small were in an arms race over free and fast delivery. In New York City, where I live, that meant you could get a range of items from toothpaste to batteries within 48 hours or less without paying an extra fee. Now, the wait for such items via my Amazon Prime account is nearly a week. And that’s actually a pretty good pace these days: Prime members are reportedly facing month-long delivery delays for some items as Amazon prioritizes getting household staples to those in need. And those staples are hard to find online, or come with big strings attached. Last week, Walmart.com offered me the option of paying $75 to get speedier delivery on a bottle of Zicam cold-remedy medicine that typically retails for about $10 to $15. The item is now out of stock. Demand for essential items is skyrocketing as people hunker down in their homes, and many are turning to delivery services, straining networks that even after years of growth in e-commerce weren’t built for such astronomical spikes. With orders for things like thermometers and toilet paper getting canceled as inventory dries up, I’m less concerned these days about when my delivery shows up and just happy if it gets here at all. And there are, of course, much bigger concerns about the health and safety of the employees that make these deliveries possible. About 100 Amazon.com Inc. workers at a Staten Island, New York fulfillment center plan to go on strike at noon on Monday. They’re demanding the facility be closed for two weeks and sanitized amid the spread of the coronavirus and that workers continue to be paid. It remains unclear how long such coronavirus-related disruptions will linger, but expectations for daily life are already being reset. What if some of those changes stick?Wary of another pandemic, people may be more vigilant about stockpiling essentials at home, to the point where it’s really not necessary to get a fresh pack of toilet paper delivered in two hours versus two days. For those who do want fast service, Amazon, Walmart Inc. and other retailers will eventually be able to start putting packages on people’s doorsteps at their previous pace as the flow of goods starts to normalize. But the perception of the value of that service seems to have changed. I don’t think I’ll take it for granted in the way that I did before. I might even be willing to pay for it. A 2019 report from the National Retail Federation found that 75% of consumers surveyed expected to get free delivery even if their order total was less than $50. Meeting those expectations eats into profit margins for retailers, and even when a fee is assessed, it’s usually well below what it actually costs to ship the package. And that's before you think about the cost of shipping it back. “Retailers Gave You Free Returns and You Ruined It,” was the title of a December 2019 story by Bloomberg News about how consumers were taking advantage of free-return policies by ordering a range of sizes or many more products than they ever intended on keeping. U.S. consumers were expected to send back $100 billion worth of goods purchased last holiday season, according to forecasts from retail technology company Optoro cited by the Financial Times. Retailers foot the bill for both the two-way logistics and the resulting pileups in inventory, some of which may be unsellable upon its return, but they seemed sort of stuck with this dynamic. While some outlets such as Urban Outfitters Inc.’s Anthropologie had started charging fees for returns by mail in an effort to incentivize customers to bring items back into a store to ease the logistical challenges, this was far from a widespread process.The whole history of e-commerce has been about making the process as easy for consumers as possible, and retailers weren’t keen to rock the boat. In a way, the coronavirus crisis has done that for them. While sales of food and other essential items are rising, less-vital retailers have been forced to shutter their stores and their e-commerce operations are fielding little interest for more discretionary products like clothing or home goods. As they dig themselves out of that hole, the margin squeeze from free delivery and free returns may matter in ways it hasn’t before. Maybe that means a small fee is assessed; maybe that means incentivizing customers to use a buy-online, pick-up-in-store model. If there was ever going to be a moment to adjust the expectations of the American consumer, this may be it. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Brooke Sutherland is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals and industrial companies. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
British supermarkets are frantically trying to build up their online operations during the coronavirus emergency but no matter how hard they work they will not have enough capacity to meet unprecedented levels of demand. With Britain in lockdown, analysts estimate about 25% of food purchasing has switched from cafes, restaurants and bars to the grocery retail sector as people adapt to the new way of living. Prior to the health crisis about 8% of British grocery demand was ordered online, with 92% bought in stores.
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. surpassed Italy in cases, with more than 80,700, and is poised to overtake China as having the most infections in the world.President Donald Trump offered a plan that may help restore normal business. U.S. stocks jumped on optimism the $2 trillion U.S. stimulus package will blunt the pandemic’s impact.China, where the outbreak began, will temporarily suspend the entry of foreigners holding valid visas and residence permits starting Saturday.Key Developments:Cases top 523,000; 23,000 dead, 122,000 recovered: Johns HopkinsU.S. fatalities top 1,000; confirmed cases in Canada surge 72%Fauci warns of potential for another cycle of infectionsWashington state’s new-case rate slowsChina’s Wuhan lockdown may delay feared second wave: studySpanish doctors are forced to choose who to let die from virusSubscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here.Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here. To see the impact on oil and commodities demand, click here.U.S. Poised to Have World’s Largest Outbreak (5:06 p.m. NY)The U.S. has at least 80,703 confirmed cases of coronavirus, surpassing Italy and positioning the country to overtake China as the site of the world’s largest outbreak.The American tally was bolstered by a large jump in New York, which had 6,448 new cases Thursday, bringing the state’s total to 37,258. That accounts for almost half the outbreak nationwide, according to data collected by Bloomberg.New Jersey and California also saw large increases in patients, and smaller hot spots in states like Michigan and Illinois began to grow more quickly.Italian health officials reported 6,153 new cases Thursday, the most in five days, bringing the country’s total to 80,539. The outbreak in mainland China remains the largest globallyWashington’s New Cases Slow (3 p.m. NY)Washington state has seen a drop in the rate of new cases being reported, Governor Jay Inslee said at a press conference, led by improvement in three counties in near Seattle where the outbreak began a month ago. Other counties aren’t seeing the pace of new cases slow, he said.While hospitals are not yet full, the state -- which ranks fourth in U.S. cases -- needs to see a significant further reduction in cases in order to avoid running out of beds and equipment in the coming days, he said.“We should not be within 10,000 miles of champagne corks on this,” Inslee said. Without further decreases to the case count “a lot of people in the state of Washington are going to die.”Inslee called for a national system for buying personal protective equipment and other supplies in order to use the federal government’s buying power and avoid putting Washington in a “mad scramble” with all the other states for supplies.U.K. Helps Self-Employed Workers (2:30 p.m. NY)The U.K. government offered self-employed workers cash grants of as much as 2,500 pounds ($3,040) a month.Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the three-month plan, at a cost the Treasury estimates will be about 9 billion pounds, after his offer last week to pay a portion of citizens’ wages was widely criticized for omitting self-employed workers.About 95% of self-employed workers, 3.8 million people, will be eligible for the grants, Sunak said.Full story here.Latin Bank Offers Aid (2:30 p.m. NY)The Inter-American Development Bank will make $12 billion available to countries for responding to the crisis and its aftermath. That includes $8.8 billion for other purposes that the nations can redirect, and $3.2 billion added to the the 2020 lending program.The IDB wants to support the immediate public health response, safety nets for economically vulnerable people, aid for small- and medium-sized businesses and fiscal policies that support member countries.The Washington-based IDB provided loans and technical assistance in a region with chronic infrastructure and financial shortages.Trump Considers Plan to Rank Counties by Risk (2:15 p.m. NY)President Donald Trump said his administration is working on a plan that would rank U.S. counties into one of three categories as a step toward the relaxing the tight restrictions put in place to halt the spread of the coronavirus.The administration, using criteria developed based on expanded testing capabilities and in consultation with health officials, proposes to designate counties as high-risk, medium-risk and low-risk. This ranking will help local officials decide on maintaining, increasing or relaxing social distancing and other measures, the president said in a letter to U.S. governors.“Americans across the country are hoping the day will soon arrive when they can resume their normal economic, social and religious lives,” Trump wrote in the letter released by the White House.Read the full story hereItaly Virus Cases Rise, Fueled by Lombardy (1:11 p.m. NY)Italy reported its biggest rise in coronavirus infections in the past five days, as the disease spread further in the northern Lombardy region, even after weeks of rigid lockdown rules.The civil protection agency reported 6,153 new cases on Thursday, up from 5,210 a day earlier.Fatalities from the outbreak over the past 24 hours totaled 662, down from 683 for the previous day, according to figures provided at the agency’s daily news conference on Thursday. Confirmed cases in the country now total 80,539.Read the full store hereN.Y. Patients Staying on Ventilators (12:20 p.m.)Some New Yorkers are staying on ventilators as long as 30 days, dimming hopes for their recovery and adding to the shortage of the lifesaving machines, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.Cuomo reported 100 more fatalities, for a total of 385, as hospitals brace for more. The city is deploying refrigerated trailers for use as temporary morgues. Until the outbreak is under control, Cuomo said officials are focused on reducing the rate of increase, not the reducing the number of cases, so hospitals don’t run out of beds.New York added almost 6,500 cases, for a total of more than 37,000.China Blocks Foreigners (11:55 a.m. NY)China will temporarily suspend the entry of foreigners starting Saturday as cases worldwide surge, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Immigration Administration said on its website.China has to take “necessary and temporary” measures in response to the current coronavirus situation, using practices of various countries as reference, the agencies said. Adjustments will be made according to the situation, they said.U.K. Police Get Extra Powers (11:50 a.m. NY)The U.K. government gave police strengthened enforcement powers to ensure people stay at home unless their trip is essential. From Thursday, the police may issue a penalty of 60 pounds ($73), rising to 120 pounds for second-time offenders.Those not paying the fine can be taken to court and police can arrest those who continuously refuse to comply.U.S. Delays New ID Deadline by Year (11:40 a.m. NY)The U.S. delayed by a year, until October 2021, the deadline for states to issue new identification documents that meet the federal Real ID standards. Chad Wolf, acting Homeland Security secretary, said states needed time because motor vehicle offices that issue driver’s licenses have been closed in response to Covid-19.U.K. Warns on ‘Coughing’ as Harassment (11:26 a.m. NY)The U.K. is ready to crack down on coughing as a way to threaten or intimidate police officers and shop workers. The nation’s prosecution office issued a statement after reports that emergency workers were coughed at by people claiming to be infected. That could lead to assault charges and two years in jail, the prosecution service said.Expo in Dubai Could be Delayed (11:26 a.m. NY)A global exposition set for Dubai in late October could be delayed for up to a year, a setback for organizers who for years have touted the event as a potential bonanza for the United Arab Emirates. Dubai has spent billions of dollars building hotels and facilities in anticipation of attracting 25 million visitors during the six-month event.A final decision must be made by member states of the Paris-based International Bureau of Expositions, which awarded the event to Dubai and the U.A.E. in 2013.Iran Bans In-Country Travel (10:15 a.m. NY)Iran banned travel between cities and ordered people to return to their hometowns or face fines after millions defied calls to stay indoors and went out to celebrate the Persian new year. President Hassan Rouhani warned of a second surge of the disease after new cases surged followed the holiday period.Emergency services and cargo vehicles are exempt from the travel ban, the semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted Iran’s police chief as saying.Europe Shies Away from Retooling Production for Gear (9:36 a.m. NY)The European Union signaled that efforts to increase the supply of medical gear will involve ramping up existing production capacity. The European Commission said converting production lines at the likes of automotive and aeronautics businesses “would be time-consuming and not always necessarily successful.” The EU’s executive arm commented after President Ursula von der Leyen and European Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton held a phone call with representatives of various businesses.U.K. Should Brace for $240 Billion Budget Deficit (9:28 a.m. NY)Britain’s budget deficit could easily exceed 200 billion pounds ($240 billion) in the coming fiscal year as the coronavirus crisis hammers the economy and forces the government to unleash a huge package of fiscal stimulus. The warning came Thursday from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.Caterpillar Withdraws Forecast, Halts Some Operations (9:11 a.m. NY)Caterpillar Inc. is suspending operations at some U.S. facilities and withdrawing its 2020 financial guidance. The heavy-equipment maker said Thursday that the virus is starting to affect its supply chain.U.S. Jobless Claims Surged to Record (8:31 a.m. NY)The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits surged to a record 3.28 million last week. Initial jobless claims in the week ended March 21 were up from 282,000 in the prior week and more than quadruple the previous record of 695,000 in 1982, according to Labor Department data released Thursday. The figures date to 1967.Economists’ projections had ranged as high as 4.4 million.Faster Virus Tests (8:30 a.m. NY)Henry Schein said an antibody rapid blood test, known as Standard Q COVID-19 IgM/IgG Rapid Test, is now available. The test is intended to be administered at the point of care and delivers results within 15 minutes from a pinprick with no instrumentation required.Earlier, Robert Bosch GmbH said it developed a test that can diagnose Covid-19 in less than 2.5 hours. The new test uses the Vivalytic molecular diagnostics platform made by Bosch’s healthcare division, used in hospitals, laboratories and medical practices. Patients typically must wait one or two days before they get test results.Separately, U.K.-based Mologic Ltd. has sent prototypes of a 10-minute coronavirus test to laboratories for validation before it can begin full-scale manufacturing. The company and its partner, the Senegalese research foundation Institut Pasteur de Dakar, have developed a finger-prick test to determine whether a person had the illness and the state of their immune system. The company is also working on a separate saliva test to detect the presence of the virus.Walmart Hires Thousands (8:25 a.m. NY)Walmart Inc. has taken on 25,000 new employees and given offers to thousands more in the first week of a hiring push, as the biggest private employer in the U.S. scrambles to keep its shelves stocked and checkouts staffed.The retailer has compressed a hiring process that can often take two weeks into as little as three hours by eliminating formal interviews and written job offers.German Tour Operator TUI Said to Near State Aid (8:20 a.m. NY)TUI AG, the world’s biggest tour operator, is close to securing almost 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in government aid in what’s seen as a litmus test for Germany’s pledge to rescue businesses ravaged by the pandemic.The company and its adviser reached an agreement with Germany’s state-owned KfW development bank on the terms of loans earlier this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because discussions are private. That financing package is now with TUI’s lending banks, which are expected to sign off in the coming days, they said.BOE Warns of Long-Term Damage; Holds Rates (8 a.m. NY)The Bank of England left rates unchanged, but said it’s ready to provide more support for the economy after warning that a very sharp reduction in activity was likely. The pound stayed stronger in a broad trend for a weaker dollar across global markets and gilts continued to gain.“Given the severity of that disruption, there is a risk of longer-term damage to the economy, especially if there are business failures on a large scale or significant increases in unemployment,” the central bank said.Ford Plans Gradual Restart of Plants (7:30 a.m. NY)Ford Motor Co. plans to resume production in Mexico on April 6, with some U.S. plants cranking up again about a week later. After halting North American production as of March 19, Ford said it’s aiming to restart production first in Hermosillo, Mexico, which builds the Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans.Ford then plans to restart production on April 14 at Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio plants that assemble profitable F-Series pickups and commercial vans. Other factories that make transmissions and press metal parts for those vehicles are due to resume that day.Powell Says Fed Will Keep Credit Flowing (7:18 a.m. NY)“We will keep doing that aggressively and forthrightly, as we have been,” Powell said in an interview on NBC Thursday. “When it comes to this lending we’re not going to run out of ammunition.” Over the past three weeks, the U.S. central bank has introduced an unprecedented series of measures pushing it deep into uncharted territory.Powell said the U.S. may well be in recession, but expects activity to resume and move back up in the second half of the year. He said “we would tend to listen to the experts” on when normal activity should resume and added that the virus would dictate the timetable.Spain Reports Fewer Deaths, Cases Surge (6:32 a.m. NY)Total cases rose to 56,188 from 47,610 and fatalities jumped by 655, fewer than on Wednesday, to 4,089. Hospitals in the country are struggling to cope with the surge.Europe Accounts for 7 out of 10 Virus Deaths, WHO Says (6:20 a.m. NY)The number of cases tripled in the past week in Europe, with the disease spreading faster in Spain, France, Germany and Switzerland, Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s director for Europe, said at a press briefing in Copenhagen. Italy’s infection rate has slowed slightly, but it’s too early to say the disease has peaked there, he said. The country has 6,200 infected health-care workers, he added.Kluge said Europe needs to attack the disease in solidarity, because if the European Union manages to fight it but it takes hold in eastern Europe, it will just come back.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
A Walmart executive says the retailer is selling more tops, but not bottoms, while so many Americans are using videoconferencing tools to work from home.
Walmart executive vice president of corporate affairs Dan Bartlett talks coronavirus impact with Yahoo Finance.
HP CEO Enrique Lores tells Yahoo Finance demand for PCs and printers have been strong as people work from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Retailers like Target are taking necessary actions to cope up with the burgeoning demand for essential commodities. Also, they are practicing sanitizing measures and safety protocols.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. has extended the shuttering of a warehouse dedicated to returning apparel after three workers tested positive for Covid-19, the first known instance of the online retailer indefinintely idling a U.S facility in response to the pandemic.The move comes after employees expressed concern that returning to work to process returned sneakers and wristwatches wasn’t worth the risk of contracting or spreading the respiratory disease.Workers at the Shepherdsville, Kentucky, warehouse, south of Louisville, had been told at a shift change Monday evening that the warehouse, called SDF9, would be closed for 48 hours for “enhanced, daily deep cleaning” to protect employees after the company was informed of positive coronavirus tests within the ranks.Then, a few hours before the first workers were scheduled to return to work Wednesday evening, employees learned from an automated call that the facility would remain closed for more cleaning, according to four employees who received the call.Workers will get their regularly scheduled pay, said the employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from their employer. They will be contacted once the company has determined an opening date, the message said.As businesses across the U.S. shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Amazon’s warehouses have taken a place alongside grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential facilities keeping their doors open during the pandemic. These companies are implicitly asking their employees to risk illness and the possibility of spreading the contagion to provide vital services. As part of that effort, Amazon last week cut off shipments of non-essential inventory to its warehouses to prioritize in-demand items.But in addition to Amazon’s more than 100 multipurpose warehouses in the U.S. -- which either stock small items like cans of soup or dry goods in interchangable bins or larger packages like bulk diapers, toilet paper and televisions -- Amazon has also kept open a smaller number of specialty warehouses. The Shepherdsville facility is geared toward sneakers, watches and T-shirts. Other, similar depots, spread across the country from Southern California to Georgia, can’t easily be repurposed to stock the essentials Amazon is prioritizing, according to people who track Amazon’s logistics network.For some workers in Shepherdsville, the idea of reopening their warehouse for the sake of returns seemed dangerous. “I can understand if they’re doing medical supplies and food, but we don’t,” an Amazon employee there said in an interview. “Does someone in quarantine really need these new shoes to wear around the house?” Some retailers, including Kroger and GameStop, have stopped accepting returns during the outbreak, while others have offered customers an extended return window so they don’t have to rush products back.In an email to employees sent last weekend, Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos acknowledged the challenge facing hundreds of thousands of employees unable to join white-collar colleagues working from home during the pandemic. “We’re providing a vital service to people everywhere, especially to those, like the elderly, who are most vulnerable,” wrote Bezos, the world’s richest person. “People are depending on us.”Amazon has said it’s following local public health guidelines for businesses that remain open during the pandemic. In some states that have ordered broad business shutdowns, such as New York, Amazon warehouses are exempted from closing orders because of their role in the nation’s supply chain.Some businesses have shut down proactively anyway. General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV agreed last week to idle their carmaking operations to protect employees. Boeing Co. resisted calls to shutter its airplane manufacturing facilities until an employee in the Seattle area died after contracting the coronavirus. When a person in Kentucky became the first known Walmart employee stricken with the disease earlier this month, the world’s largest retailer said it deferred to state health authorities and opted to keep the store open after some cleaning.In the last week, Amazon started eliminating warehouse shift meetings, staggering start times and rearranging warehouse break rooms to discourage congregating.Those steps haven’t prevented coronavirus cases from popping up in the company’s 800,000-strong workforce, in European countries hard-hit by the disease and, this week, in the U.S. Since Amazon temporarily closed a Queens, New York, delivery station following the disclosure an employee had been diagnosed with Covid-19 last week, Amazon warehouse workers in at least eight other states – California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma and Texas – have been informed of cases of the respiratory disease in their ranks, according to media reports and employees in those facilities.An Amazon spokeswoman declined to respond to questions about the number of coronavirus cases in its warehouses or potential adjustments to facilities built to carry non-essential items.“We have increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning at all sites, including regular sanitization of door handles, handrails, touch screens, scanners, and other frequently touched areas,” the company said in an emailed statement. Amazon, the statement said, has been consulting with medical experts and public health authorities on what measures to take after employees contract the disease. “Our process evaluates where the employee was in the building, for how long, how much time has passed since they were onsite, and who they interacted with, among other items, in determining whether we need to close.”In interviews, 16 Amazon warehouse workers around the U.S. describe an atmosphere of fear. They said uncertainty about the spread of the new virus, mistrust of management and, sometimes, a coughing colleague nearby, fuel rumors about new cases. Some are working shorter hours or have stopped coming at all, taking Amazon up on its offer of unpaid time off without penalty through the end of the month. Many have started eating lunch in their cars rather than risk a trip to the break room.Amazon, which aims to hire 100,000 people to help keep up with a surge in orders during an emerging nationwide quarantine, has tried to keep workers coming in with hazard pay in the form of a $2 an hour raise and additional overtime compensation.One Amazon warehouse worker in Staten Island said he and his colleagues were excited to earn the extra $2 per hour but that the mood abruptly changed Tuesday when they learned from a human resources representative that one of their colleagues had tested positive for Covid-19. He was scheduled to earn double-pay on an overtime shift, $40 per hour -- a healthy bump over Amazon’s $15-an-hour national starting wage. Instead, he went home early.The worker said he and his colleagues are packing a lot of household essentials like cleaning products but that customers are still ordering such non-essential items as video-game consoles and clothing.“We’re selling everything,” he said.Amazon hasn’t identified any of the sick warehouse employees but says, in each case, it informed those who came into close contact with them. The general manager of SDF9 told employees in the voicemail on Wednesday that Amazon was working to determine who might have come into contact with the sick employees during their most recent shifts, and “will begin immediately contacting those individuals per our guidelines.”News of new cases has been filtering out to the workforce in sometimes haphazard fashion. Several employees said they heard of cases through automated voicemails or text messages that went out to all workers. But in Brownstown, near Detroit, one Amazon employee said she learned of her facility’s Covid-19 case on Facebook.In a warehouse in Oklahoma City, workers arrived on Monday to find a building buzzing that a colleague had posted about a positive test on social media, one employee said. Human resources didn’t confirm that during their shift, however, and many employees left for the day to find a local news van outside. Amazon, employees said, has generally opted to keep those buildings open or to close them for less than a day so workers can clean the facility.The exception so far is the Shepherdsville warehouse.The facility, which a state economic development group says employs about 2,000 people, is built around a massive returns department, where employees, working back to back, open boxes to check whether a returned item coming off a truck matches the description of its condition on a computer screen. Further down the line, employees wipe shoes and clothes clean with alcohol and other cleaners. Managers this week pulled some employees off the line to give workers more space, an attempt to reconcile their close quarters with federal guidelines that people maintain six feet of distance to slow the virus’s spread. There’s also a small outbound department.Before the sudden closing, managers had placed tape on the floor at six-foot intervals to encourage staff to avoid standing close together transmit the virus. Despite those measures, all 10 workers at the facility interviewed by Bloomberg said it should remain closed.The building isn’t set up for people to remain a safe distance from each other, they said. Some employees said cleaning materials like hand sanitizer and wipes have been hard to find on the floor. The facility shipped some of its own stock to a Whole Foods in the Chicago area, part of a triage effort that has Amazon warehouses around the country scrambling to acquire and distribute precious supplies.One worker said she asked a manager during a shift earlier this week why people were reporting for duty at all. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear had ordered all non-essential retail businesses to close their customer-facing facilities on Monday as the state’s count of coronavirus cases topped 100, and expanded that shutdown order on Tuesday to encompass all non-life-sustaining businesses. The Amazon manager had responded that customers expect quick service on their returns, she said.The employee, worried about a family member at home with a compromised immune system, said she would have stayed away from work even if Amazon hadn’t opted to keep the facility closed.“I’d better not bring this home,” she said. “I think customers would understand.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- India’s largest online retailers including Amazon.com Inc., Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart and Alibaba-backed fresh grocery delivery service BigBasket are facing severe disruptions and shutdowns, after authorities announced some of the strictest coronavirus-related restrictions in the world.The country’s 1.3 billion people are in a three-week lockdown, sending many to scour the web for food and daily essentials. But unlike in China, where online fresh grocery services offered a lifeline during its Covid-19 outbreak, Indian authorities are stopping food trucks on highways, and shutting down warehouses and rice mills. They’re also preventing delivery and supply-chain workers from doing their jobs, sometimes through use of force.To avoid the rush at supermarkets, Hyderabad-based IT executive Kumar Narasimha attempted to buy groceries, fruit and vegetables for his family online but had to give up because supplies or delivery slots were unavailable. “We were asked not to hoard and many of us didn’t,” he said. “Now, those who followed government advice are at a disadvantage while those who flouted social-distancing rules and hoarded stuff are sitting smug.”Online retail is growing at a searing pace in India, helped by the ubiquity of smartphones and the country’s over half-a-billion internet users. Online retail is expected to reach $170 billion by 2030 -- or over a third of total organized retail -- from the current $18 billion, according to a report from Jefferies. Internet sales of groceries and household essentials were gaining traction among users, the report said.What could have been an online retail windfall of sorts for startups is not quite turning out that way because of the disruptions. “Policies have to be tweaked to allow deliveries to happen during such lockdowns,” said Devangshu Dutta, the Delhi-based chief executive of retail consultancy Third Eyesight. “Fulfillment capabilities of both online retailers and their suppliers are taking a hit right now,” he said.Read more: Coronavirus Outbreak Drives Demand for China’s Online GrocersAmazon said it’s working with authorities to make sure it could deliver “priority” goods safely to customers, including household staples, baby formula and medical supplies. On its Prime Now app -- which usually offers a rich selection of fruit and vegetables -- popular items such as bhendi (okra) and bottle gourd, were frequently out of stock.On Wednesday evening, Flipkart announced it would resume deliveries after temporarily halting operations. “We have been assured of the safe and smooth passage of our supply chain and delivery executives by local law enforcement authorities and are resuming our grocery & essentials services later today,” Kalyan Krishnamurthy, chief executive officer of the group, said in a note.Startups like Bangalore-based Growfit, which makes and delivers healthy meals in its 20 cloud kitchens across four Indian cities, say workers are being harassed. Harish Poojary, 26, who manages facilities and logistics at one of the company’s cloud kitchens in Bangalore, said he was stopped on his way to work by the police and beaten. “We are providing a service to our countrymen in these difficult times and this is how we get treated,” Poojary said.The company’s shut down two of its kitchens after receiving threats from local officials. “It’s an anxious time for us, our workers and our customers,” founder Jyotsna Pattabhiraman said.BigBasket, the website of the country’s largest online retailer of fresh produce and groceries, was down for several hours earlier this week because of heavy traffic. On resumption, the company posted a notice: “Delivery guarantee is not available.” Co-founder V.S. Sudhakar said a sizable number of delivery staff was shunning work because they were either scared of catching the virus, or had returned to their home towns out of fear, forcing the startup to recruit and train delivery and warehouse staff “on a war footing.”The company is among startups lobbying officials to ensure that food and supply trucks get a smoother passage on highways. “Our supply of rice has been stuck at a border checkpost, our suppliers such as rice mills are not allowed to operate,” Sudhakar said in a telephone interview. “If this goes on, stocks will run out and India will have a bigger problem in the next couple of weeks.”(Updates with Flipkart statement on resumption of deliveries in seventh paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
COVID-19 is taking an enormous toll on economic and health infrastructure, thereby resulting in massive layoffs. However, there are certain companies that are challenging this downtrend.
Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell weighs in on the state of his business amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Walmart Inc on Wednesday named Sameer Aggarwal chief executive officer of Best Price, its Indian cash and carry business, and said it was in touch with supplier partners for adequate stocking at its stores during the 21-day government sanctioned lockdown. Aggarwal, who served as executive vice president for Walmart India for nearly two years before being elevated as deputy CEO in January, will take over from Krish Iyer on April 1.