“What the delta variant already means for retail” by Daphne Howland via Retail Dive

“What the delta variant already means for retail” by Daphne Howland via Retail Dive

Rapid development and distribution of vaccines promised to halt the pandemic, but new surges brought on by viral mutations threaten progress. A change in mask-wearing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday — urging even vaccinated people to wear masks indoors in areas with “substantial or high transmission” — signaled fresh worry about a pandemic that earlier this year seemed to be on the wane in the U.S., thanks to the rapid development and distribution of vaccines. A stock market dip the week before was also attributed to rising concerns about a mutation of the COVID-19 coronavirus known as the delta variant, which is proving to be even more contagious than the strains that took such a toll last year. Hospitals in some areas are once again under pressure. For developing and poor countries, which have the lowest vaccination rate, the problem is access to vaccines, according to the International Monetary Fund, which on Tuesday warned the delta variant threatens the global economy. In the U.S., nearly all patients with serious illness have been unvaccinated, in part due to vaccine hesitancy. The National Retail Federation took on that issue in its response to the new guidance. “It is truly unfortunate that mask recommendations have returned when the surest known way to reduce the threat of the virus is widespread vaccination,” the group said in a statement Tuesday. “The CDC’s latest guidance underscores the urgency for more Americans to become fully vaccinated so we can all emerge from this pandemic.” While the news is alarming, a repeat of the lockdowns of last year that hit the retail industry so hard seems unlikely. Still, the delta variant is already affecting retailers in three...
“Should retailers continue to require associates and customers to wear masks?” by George Anderson with commentary by 38 retail experts via Retail Wire

“Should retailers continue to require associates and customers to wear masks?” by George Anderson with commentary by 38 retail experts via Retail Wire

Americans who have received full doses of COVID-19 vaccines (one or two shots, depending on the manufacturer) and have allowed at least two weeks to pass will now be free to go about their daily activities without wearing a mask. This applies both to outdoor as well as most indoor activities, with the exception of airline travel, public transport and certain other mandated situations. Everyone else needs to keep wearing masks, particularly in indoor environments. Those are the basic rules laid out in new guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which provided the caveat that citizens should continue to follow local and/or state rules as they apply to mask wearing. The guidance did not specifically address businesses, although the takeaways seem clear for public-facing companies. Masks should continue to be worn by all that have not been vaccinated even when state or local rules say otherwise. That means, in practical terms, that unless a retailer has a way to verify people have been vaccinated before they enter stores, it is prudent that they continue to enforce mask wearing rules. This seems to be particularly true in locations where COVID-19 disinformation is prevalent and vaccination rates are low. Business owners and employers are being cautioned by workplace experts not to fling open the doors and throw away their masks just yet. Kevin Troutman, an attorney with Fisher Phillips in Houston, told SHRM Online, that employers should wait until the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updates its workplace safety guidance before making any changes. The New York Times reports that some states have lifted mandates following the CDC’s announcement and...
BRA Covid-19 Retailer Resource Guide (strategies, webinars, loans and more) – published on March 23, 2020 / last updated with links to recently updated resources on May 14, 2021

BRA Covid-19 Retailer Resource Guide (strategies, webinars, loans and more) – published on March 23, 2020 / last updated with links to recently updated resources on May 14, 2021

Welcome to the BRA COVID-19 Resource Guide. Below you will find resources for the benefit of all board specialty retailers (BRA Retail Members and non-members alike) during this challenging period. The Board Retailers Association is actively aggregating resources to assist you in navigating these uncharted waters. We update this page with additional resources regularly. If you are interested in contributing relevant information or helpful resources that will benefit other board specialty retailers, please email our Executive Director at doug@boardretailers.org Relevant and trustworthy online resources providing facts related to transmission of Covid-19 (Corona Virus) and strategies to battle the spread #spreadthestokenotthevirus Center for Disease Control (CDC) – Official Website Flatten The Curve – Everything you and your customers need to know to battle COVID-19 is on this website World Health Organization – Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak This epic and relevant drawing was created by Reddit User Darth Voter Relevant educational webinars (on-demand) > Crystal Media – 3 Tips To Get Started With Social Selling Today and Staying Top-of-Mind and Connected to Customers During a Pandemic > Management One – 1) “The Retailer’s Guide to the Economic Stimulus Package & Financial Options to Address COVID-19” – The CARES Act is a complex mix of government aid and bank loans each with their own timelines and requirements. The parameters and regulations for these loans is changing hourly! 2) With rent being one of the highest monthly expenses for brick and mortar retail businesses, it’s a good idea to approach the subject of temporarily altering the structure of your agreement – The Art of Landlord Negotiation to Ease the Highest...
“Additional EIDL Options.  Does your business qualify?” by Management One (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

“Additional EIDL Options. Does your business qualify?” by Management One (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

Have you taken advantage of the latest round of SBA loan options? There are 2 main Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advances – called the Targeted EIDL Advance and Supplemental Targeted Advance. The Targeted EIDL Advance provides eligible businesses with $10,000 in total grant assistance. If you received the EIDL Advance last year in an amount less than $10,000, you may be eligible to receive the difference up to the full $10,000. The combined amount of the Targeted EIDL Advance and any previously received Advance will not exceed $10,000.Learn more about the Targeted EIDL Advance The Supplemental Targeted Advance provides the smallest and hardest hit eligible businesses with a supplemental payment of $5,000. Even if you have previously received the original EIDL Advance in the full amount of $10,000, you may be eligible for the Supplemental Targeted Advance if you meet eligibility criteria. The combined amount of the Supplemental Targeted Advance ($5,000) with any previously received EIDL Advance or Targeted EIDL Advance ($10,000) will not exceed $15,000. Learn more about the Supplemental Targeted Advance Free downloadable retail related tools can be accessed via: https://www.management-one.com/downloadable-retail-tools Please note that the link to this and other relevant Corona Virus related articles as well as links to helpful webinars, loans and other Covid 19 related resources can be found in The BRA Covid 19 Retailer Resource Guide, which was published in March and is still updated regularly. If you missed the most recent BRA Management One Collaborative Webinar, push play to view it now. Also stay tuned for the next BRA M1 Webinar, which will happen before the end of the 2nd Quarter. BRA note: We are...
“Good news on vaccines, economy drives a sunnier view of retail at Moody’s” by Ben Unglesbee via Retail Dive

“Good news on vaccines, economy drives a sunnier view of retail at Moody’s” by Ben Unglesbee via Retail Dive

Dive Brief: Moody’s analysts see “broad-based improvement” ahead for the retail industry in 2021 as vaccinations grow and pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic eases, according to a recent report.The ratings agency lifted its industry outlook for retail to positive from stable based on a strong economic environment. Analysts now estimate operating profit to grow a “robust” 10% to 12% during the year.Those sectors hit hardest last year have some of the most room for growth, including apparel, department stores and off-price, the analysts said. Dive Insight: The Moody’s report comes on the heels of good general economic news. During the first quarter of 2021, the economy grew at an annualized rate of 6.4%, driven by consumer spending, government stimulus, residential investments and other factors, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Meanwhile, the latest four-week average for jobless claims hit their lowest point since March 14, 2020, a sign that the general business environment is finally normalizing as inoculations against COVID-19 increase.  Vaccinations not only hold the promise for returning shoppers back to malls and other centers, but they can also open up the world more broadly. Office work, conferences, parties, weddings, travel, in-person school — are all poised for a comeback as COVID-19 cases decrease. And all of those things might help drive apparel and other retail spending.  It’s great news for the hardest hit retailers from the pandemic. S&P Global Ratings, for instance, raised its outlook for department store giant Macy’s this week. Analysts with S&P also cited a fast-improving economy and an expected apparel comeback in lifting the outlook for Macy’s, which was downgraded multiple times last year and posted a nearly $4...
“Vaccinations Do Not Mark the End of Americans’ COVID Shopping Behaviors: What Retailers Need to Know” by David Fisch via Total Retail

“Vaccinations Do Not Mark the End of Americans’ COVID Shopping Behaviors: What Retailers Need to Know” by David Fisch via Total Retail

We’ve entered the next stage of combating COVID-19 as vaccinations roll out across the country. While this may be the next step towards getting the pandemic under control, consumers remain wary. In fact, vaccine or not, most Americans said they would hardly change their current shopping behaviors — an important finding for retailers currently planning their long-term strategies. As part of our ongoing efforts to support brand and retail partners with regular insights throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Shopkick recently surveyed more than 21,000 consumers to learn more about their sentiments toward the vaccine and how it will impact their shopping habits. What we learned is eye-opening. Many Consumers Don’t Plan to Get Vaccinated Part of the hesitancy to revert completely to pre-COVID shopping behaviors comes from the knowledge that many people will choose not to get vaccinated. While some of the folks surveyed had already received at least one dosage of the vaccine (8 percent) or were planning to receive it (48 percent), nearly half (44 percent) said they didn’t plan to get vaccinated at all. Retailers must also recognize how these views differ amongst demographics in order to successfully reach and engage with their target consumers. When broken down by generation, millennials made up the largest segment of those not confident in the vaccine (35 percent) and not planning to get vaccinated (51 percent). Meanwhile, the youngest and oldest generations proved the most confident in the vaccine, with 71 percent of Gen Zers and 75 percent of boomers saying they felt some level of confidence. Related story: How 2020 Shaped Consumer Behavior: Key Insights for 2021 Don’t Dismiss Online and Omnichannel — Consumers...