Juul Labs plans to cut around a third of its staff as it grapples with falling e-cigarette market share and regulatory crackdowns. “The San Francisco company will cut between 800 and 950 of its staff as part of a broader restructuring plan,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “The cuts aren’t related to the coronavirus pandemic…. Blamed for a rise in teenage vaping, Juul is the subject of several federal investigations.”
With the coronavirus prompting more consumers to want to eat at home, Chick-fil-A is rolling out a meal kit. “The chicken chain will start selling its new product nationally as soon as May 4,” according to CNN. “Each individual restaurant will decide whether to offer the meal kits, but Chick-fil-A expects at least half of its locations to opt in.” Currently there’s only one option: A chicken Parmesan kit that includes two breaded filets, as well as marinara sauce, cheese and a side of creamy garlic and lemon pasta. …
Boston Market has been acquired by Engage Brands, LLC, one of the Rohan Group of Companies, for an undisclosed amount. The Rohan Group of Companies operates multiple franchised restaurant concepts and is a franchisee of brands including Pizza Hut and Checker’s & Rally’s. “The sale follows a tumultuous time for Boston Market: in July 2019 the company shuttered 10% of its stores due to store underperformance,” per Nation’s Restaurant News.
President Donald Trump ordered beef, pork and poultry processing plants to remain open, despite safety concerns. “Critics said the forced openings – some plants have closed because so many employees contracted the coronavirus – threaten the safety of workers who remain vulnerable to the disease,” per USA Today. “Trump also told reporters he would seek to shield meat plants from legal liability if they are sued by employees who contract coronavirus while on the job.”
CVS is leading the charge of expanded COVID-19 testing, followed by Walgreens, Walmart Inc. and Kroger Co. “In mid-March, CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid and Walgreens were among the retailers that committed to opening up drive-thru test sites in the parking lots of their stores across the country,” according to Chain Store Age. “Their efforts to date have been somewhat hampered for various reasons, including a lack of adequate lab capacity.”
The coronavirus is prompting Apple to push back the production ramp-up of four new iPhone models coming later this year by about a month. The pandemic has weakened consumer demand and disrupted manufacturing across Asia. “Apple’s annual product refresh fuels the majority of iPhone sales for an entire year, making new phones the linchpin of a business segment that accounts for more than half of the company’s total revenue,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
With all events being cancelled nationwide due to the pandemic, kegs of beer in stadiums, concert halls, restaurants and bars are going stale. In March alone, roughly 10 million gallons of suds were abandoned in venues after they were forced to close ahead of St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness, according to an NBWA estimate. Executives say draft beer typically stays fresh for between two and six months.
General Motors has filed to trademark the Cadillac Lyriq in seven countries. The electric crossover is expected to arrive in 2022. “The luxury brand had initially planned to pull the veil from the new EV during a special event in April, but those plans have been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” according to GM Authority. “It’s not clear when we may see the vehicle now, but it could debut at the 2020 New York International Auto Show, which has been pushed back to August due to COVID-19.”
Retailers that aim to provide special in-store experiences to compete against ecommerce now have to go in the opposite direction -- online -- in light of the pandemic. "Hurrying to adapt, brands are testing everything from virtual store tours to videoconference versions of birthday parties," according to The Wall Street Journal. Still, the COVID-19 outbreak "also likely changes to how people will shop in the future, such as avoiding the fitting room or touching fewer items in a store."
Amazon has long asserted that when it makes and sells its own products it doesn’t use information it collects from the site’s individual third-party sellers. Yet interviews with more than 20 former employees of Amazon’s private-label business reveal that employees did just that. “In one instance, Amazon employees accessed documents and data about a bestselling car-trunk organizer sold by a third-party vendor,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “The information included total sales, how much the vendor paid Amazon for marketing and shipping, and how much Amazon made on each sale. Amazon’s private-label arm later introduced its own car-trunk organizers.”