• Walmart Tests Self-Checkout Store
    Walmart is officially confirming reports that it has opened a pilot supercenter format in Fayetteville, Arkansas that replaces traditional, in-person checkout lanes with self-checkout kiosks. “Instead of arranging POS terminals in lanes, the store has a front-end layout in which 34 registers line the edges of a wide-open area,” according to Chain Store Age. All the cashiers in the store have been transitioned to a new role called “host” and are available to show customers to open registers or assist them if they do not wish to use the self-service features.
  • Should Companies Allow 'Black Lives Matter' Gear?
    Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Taco Bell and Starbucks have faced protests from employees over policies prohibiting political speech on uniforms. While the same companies voice support for the Black Lives Matter movement, they draw the line at allowing employees to wear masks or other attire that expresses solidarity with the cause. “Employers, reluctant to alienate customers or employees, may hope banning personal statements across the board will keep conflict at bay,” according to the Chicago Tribune. “But they must consider the legal ramifications of restricting certain forms of expression, and the cost of bad publicity and poor employee morale.”
  • Walmart To Run Temporary Drive-In Theaters
    Walmart's drive-in theaters, programmed by the Tribeca Film Festival with family-friendly as well as hit movies, will be open August through October in 160 of its U.S. store parking lots, according to Chain Store Age. "Walmart is also launching a virtual summer camp. Starting July 8, families can access 50 Camp by Walmart activities for free by visiting the Walmart app."
  • Outlook For Malls Dims As Retailers Falter
    "Analysts say as much as a quarter of America’s malls may close in the next five years," per The New York Times. "The pandemic has been devastating for the retail industry," with prominent department store chains closing stores, which "could cause other tenants to abandon malls at the same time as large specialty chains like Victoria’s Secret are shrinking." That, plus the rise of online shopping, could lead to malls that are “'community-based' in smaller markets, with local and regional businesses," according to one analyst..
  • Trump Free To Fire Consumer Watchdog Director
    The Supreme Court ruled Monday that it is within the law for the president to fire the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without cause.“The ruling puts to rest a decade of doubt over whether the bureau and its leadership structure, in which the director is appointed by the president to a five-year term and cannot be dismissed without a substantial reason, were constitutional,” according to The New York Times.
  • Pizza Hut, Wendy's Franchisee Files For Bankruptcy
    NPC International Inc., which operates more than 1,600 Wendy’s and Pizza Hut restaurants, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday. The company was struggling before the pandemic. “As our industry has been in the midst of dynamic changes due to shifting consumer preferences and dining behavior, we also have been facing increased labor and commodities costs and a higher level of financial leverage that presents obstacles to achieving our long-term business objectives,” said Jon Weber, president and CEO of NPC’s Pizza Hut division.
  • Winn-Dixie Isn't Changing Its Name
    Southeastern Grocers, the operator of 366 Winn-Dixie stores, said despite a report to the contrary, there are no current plans to change to drop “Dixie” from its name. “While we have no immediate plans to rename this banner, we have always been and will continue to be responsive to the needs and concerns expressed by the communities we serve,” the company said in a release.  In a high-profile move, the country band The Dixie Chicks changed their name last week to The Chicks.
  • Costco Stops Selling Half-Sheet Cakes
    Costco said in a recent post on Facebook that it has stopped selling  $20 half-sheet cakes and is pointing customers to 10-inch round cakes, a better option for pandemic-inspired smaller gatherings. “The elimination of sheet cakes comes as public health officials warn people against large gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic,” per Deseret News. Sheet cakes, which serve about 50 people, are often purchased for large gatherings. Kroger and Sam’s Club also have stopped selling large cakes.
  • Amazon To Rename Arena For Climate Pledge
    Amazon will not slap its name on the side of the newly purchased KeyArena. Instead, the arena, which will house the city’s incoming NHL franchise and WBNA’s Storm, will be known as the Climate Pledge Arena. Putting its money where its mouth is, Amazon will power the arena 100% by renewable electricity when it opens by late-summer 2021 as it seeks to achieve a zero-carbon footprint.
  • COVID-19 Drug To Cost An Average Of $3,120
    Gilead Sciences says it will charge U.S. hospitals $3,120 for a typical patient with commercial insurance for the COVID-19 drug remdesivir, which "interferes with the new coronavirus’s ability to replicate within a patient’s cells,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “Under the company’s plans, Gilead will charge a higher price for patients with private insurance in the U.S., and a lower price for U.S. government health programs like Medicare and all other developed countries that insure their patients directly."
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