Walmart making cuts amid economic downturn

Revelations 18:23:’For the merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.’

Important Takeaways:

  • Walmart cuts 200 corporate employees, says it will continue hiring in ‘key areas’
  • Walmart let go of almost 200 corporate employees on Wednesday amid the economic downturn and rising inflation, according to a person familiar with the development. The company said in a statement that these layoffs are a part of updating its structure.

Read the original article by clicking here.

Walmart’s earnings declined in second quarter

Revelations 18:23:’For the merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.’

Important Takeaways:

  • Walmart Laying Off Corporate Employees in Sign of Slowing Job Market
  • A change in the ways consumers shop is being driven by rising food and gas prices, as inflation surged to 9.1 percent in June, the company said.
  • Walmart said it now anticipates adjusted earnings per share for the second quarter and full year to decline around 8–9 percent and 11–13 percent, respectively. Previously, the retailer had predicted a 1 percent fall it had previously forecast for the full year.
  • “Food inflation is double digits and higher than at the end of the first quarter. This is affecting customers’ ability to spend on general merchandise categories and requiring more markdowns to move through the inventory, particularly apparel,” Walmart said.

Read the original article by clicking here.

Florida Walmart adds electronic security tags to high priced steaks

Rev 6:6 NAS And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Now even the steaks are being locked up! Florida Walmart is securing $20 ribeyes with mesh wiring and electronic security tag to prevent theft – as crime soars nationally
  • Michael Fromhold, from Florida, was stunned when he noticed that the meat at his local Walmart had been locked up in what appears to be a rather dramatic attempt to prevent people from stealing it.
  • It is unclear whether or not the cages are being used in all Walmart stores across the country, or whether the company is implementing the safety measures in stores that are located in areas of high crime.
  • According to FBI data, there were a total of 1.3 million violent offenses reported in America during 2020, or 388 for every 100,000 people – a five per cent increase from 2019.
  • In Chicago, murder is at its highest in nearly 30 years – recording 836 homicides in 2021, up from 770 in 2020. There were 492 people killed in the Windy City in 2019.
  • Nearly every single police precinct in New York City has seen spikes in crime so far this year – including five in which the rate has doubled, data from the NYPD shows.

Read the original article by clicking here.

Amazon launches online pharmacy in new contest with drug retail

By Jeffrey Dastin

(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc. on Tuesday launched an online pharmacy for delivering prescription medications in the United States, increasing competition with drug retailers such as Walgreens, CVS Health and Walmart.

Called Amazon Pharmacy, the new store lets customers price-compare as they buy drugs on the company’s website or app. Shoppers can toggle at checkout between their co-pay and a non-insurance option, heavily discounted for members of its loyalty club Prime.

The move builds on the web retailer’s 2018 acquisition of PillPack, which Amazon said will remain separate for customers needing pre-sorted doses of multiple drugs.

Shares of pharmacy chains, drug wholesalers and grocers fell before the bell. Amazon’s shares were up nearly 2% at $3,190.99.

Over the past two years, Amazon has worked to secure more state licenses for shipping prescriptions across the country, which had been an obstacle to its expansion into the drug supply chain, according to analyst notes from Jefferies Equity Research.

The company founded as an online bookseller has disrupted industries including retail, computing and now potentially pharmaceuticals, drawing criticism of its size and power from labor groups and lawmakers along the way.

TJ Parker, PillPack’s CEO and vice president of Amazon Pharmacy, said in a statement the retailer aimed to bring “customer obsession to an industry that can be inconvenient and confusing.”

The company faces entrenched competition from Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, CVS Health Corp, Walmart Inc, Rite Aid Corp., Kroger Co and others. Take-up of online ordering of drugs has been low, according to market research from J.D. Power.

Amazon injects a new look and feel into a space that has been dominated by a few large mail order pharmacies like CVS, Cigna Corp and UnitedHealth’s Optum, analysts from brokerage Evercore ISI said in a note.

“Consumers have historically not warmed to mail delivery of prescriptions, as customer service has been a weaker point of this service,” they added.

Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Rite Aid and CVS tumbled between 8% and 12%, while those of drug distributors Mckesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and Amerisourcebergen Corp were down 2% to 5%.

Should Prime members prefer buying in person, Amazon said its discounts on non-insurance purchases apply at more than 50,000 brick-and-mortar pharmacies – including those run by rivals. Inside Rx, a subsidiary of Cigna’s Evernorth, administers that benefit, Amazon said.

Still, the pandemic may help bring drug orders online. E-commerce has surged this year as governments told people to stay home to stave off infections of COVID-19, and Prime members – more than 150 million globally – may be receptive to buying medication online now that it’s from Amazon.

The company said Prime subscribers get up to 80% off generic and up to 40% off brand drugs when they pay without insurance, as well as two-day delivery.

Amazon’s online pharmacy is not yet available in Illinois, Minnesota, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Hawaii, a spokeswoman said.

(Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco and Caroline Humer in New York; Additional reporting by Manojna Maddipatla and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Sriraj Kalluvila)

Walmart to sell Medicare plans in latest healthcare push

(Reuters) – Walmart Inc said on Tuesday it would sell Medicare insurance plans in 50 states and Washington D.C. through its broker, marking the U.S. retailer’s latest move into the healthcare space.

Walmart Insurance Services LLC, which was launched in July, will offer policies from health insurers such as Humana Inc, UnitedHealth Group and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield from Oct. 15-Dec. 7, the company said.

Medicare Advantage plans cater to Americans older than 65 and those with disabilities.

The company already operates health centers across the United States, offering low-cost services such as dental care and counseling.

Walmart’s move comes at a time when health insurers face rising costs as Americans catch up on less urgent surgeries delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hospitals rescheduled elective surgeries to reduce the burden on the healthcare system as coronavirus cases surged, while some patients canceled appointments to avoid potential contraction of the respiratory illness caused by the virus.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

Walmart to test drone delivery of COVID-19 test kits

(Reuters) – Walmart Inc. said on Tuesday it would run a pilot project to deliver self-collection test kits for coronavirus through automated drones at customers’ doorsteps.

The U.S. retailer has partnered with Quest Diagnostics and drone services provider DroneUp, to test-deliver collection kits in north Las Vegas from Tuesday and plans to conduct a trial run in Cheektowaga, New York in early October.

Earlier this month, Walmart piloted drone delivery of grocery and household products in Fayetteville, North Carolina, as it accelerated the expansion of its pickup and delivery services with virus-wary consumers preferring home delivery.

The drones launched on Tuesday will drop the COVID-19 self-collection kits on driveways, front sidewalks or backyards of homes within a one-mile radius of designated Walmart stores.

Customers can self-administer the nasal swab and send back samples to Quest Diagnostics for testing.

Walmart has also teamed up with Zipline to make on-demand deliveries of select health and wellness products near its headquarters in northwest Arkansas.

(Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

Target, CVS, Walgreens to require customers wear masks at U.S. stores

(Reuters) – Target Corp, CVS Health Corp and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc said on Thursday they would require customers wear face coverings while shopping at their U.S. stores, adopting a widely accepted way to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The move by consumer-facing companies comes as virus cases continue to surge in the United States and deaths exceed 137,000.

On Wednesday, Walmart Inc, Kroger Co and Kohls Corp had decided to implement the policy at all their outlets.

Target said it would launch the policy from August 1, with an exception for those with underlying medical conditions and young children.

Local and state regulations already require shoppers at over 80% of its stores to wear face masks, the retailer said.

Walgreens’ policy will come into effect on Monday, with the company saying it will add store signage and intercom messages to remind shoppers of the new rule.

CVS will also launch the rule at its pharmacies from Monday, but said it was not asking its employees to act as enforcers.

While many companies have recommended masks for months, they were hesitant to make it a requirement over fears of drawing the ire of shoppers, especially after several videos posted online showed confrontations between customers and store staff.

“What we are asking is that customers help protect themselves,” CVS said in a statement.

(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Arun Koyyur)

Walmart removes firearms, ammunition from floor display as protests rage in U.S

(Reuters) – Walmart Inc said on Wednesday it shifted firearms and ammunition out of sales floors of some U.S. stores amid nationwide protests over the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of police last week.

“We have temporarily removed firearms and ammunition from the sales floor in some stores out of an abundance of caution,” the nation’s largest retailer said in a statement.

“Those items are available for purchase, but are being stored in a secure room.”

Walmart, which stopped selling ammunition for handguns and some assault-style rifles in its U.S. stores last year, does not sell firearms in many of the major urban markets experiencing issues due to looting.

Several retailers, from Target, Apple to high-end apparel brands, have been looted and damaged as protesters turned violent in places including New York and Chicago, forcing them to reduce store hours or close shop.

This comes as U.S. retailers were already reeling under falling sales due to the pandemic-led stores closures.

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

Retailers already hit by coronavirus board up as U.S. protests rage

By Jessica Resnick-Ault

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Target Corp and Walmart said on Sunday they shuttered stores across the United States as retailers already reeling from closures because of the coronavirus pandemic shut outlets amid protests that included looting in many U.S. cities.

Protests turned violent in places including New York and Chicago following the death in Minneapolis of a black man, George Floyd, seen on video gasping for breath as a white police officer knelt on his neck.

In Los Angeles, protests led to the looting of the Alexander McQueen clothing store on Rodeo Drive, and a Gucci store on the vaunted strip was marked with the graffiti slogan: “Eat the rich,” according to local media reports.

In the nearby Grove Shopping Center, which houses 51 upscale stores, Nordstrom, Ray Ban and Apple were broken into. Nordstrom Inc temporarily closed all its stores on Sunday, it told Reuters in an emailed statement.

“We hope to reopen our doors as soon as possible,” the statement said. “We had impacts at some of them and are in the process of assessing any damage so we can resume serving customers.”

Apple Inc said in an email statement it also had decided to keep a number of its U.S. stores closed on Sunday. The company did not specify how many stores were closed, or if the closures would be extended.

The violence was widespread, and Minnesota-based Target said it was closing or limiting hours at more than 200 stores. It did not specify how long the closures would last.

The company told Reuters it was beginning to board up its Lake Street store in Minneapolis, near where Floyd was killed, for safety and to begin recovery efforts. The company said in a statement that it would plan to reopen the store late this year.

“There is certainly potential for the resulting social unrest to hurt certain businesses like retailers and restaurants, and for it to further dent consumer and business sentiment,” said Robert Phipps, director at Per Stirling. “It is even possible, particularly if the unrest continues and spreads, that it would, all other things being equal, have a significant impact on investor psychology and the markets.”

Walmart closed some stores in Minneapolis and Atlanta after protests Friday, and closed several hundred stores at 5 p.m. on Sunday, a spokesman said. “We’ll look at them each day, and at how each community is impacted and make decisions then,” the spokesman said.

Online retailer Amazon said it was monitoring the situation closely. “In a handful of cities we’ve adjusted routes or scaled back typical delivery operations to ensure the safety of our teams,” the company said in an emailed statement.

U.S. retail sales have posted record declines as the novel coronavirus pandemic kept Americans at home, putting the economy on track for its biggest contraction in the second quarter since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

(Reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault; Additional reporting by Sinead Carew and Ismail Shakil; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Peter Cooney and Diane Craft)

Walmart to hire 50,000 more workers in coronavirus-driven hiring spree

(Reuters) – Walmart Inc said on Friday it would hire 50,000 more workers at its stores, clubs and distribution centers to meet a surge in demand for groceries and household essentials from consumers stockpiling during the coronavirus outbreak.

The retailer said it had reached its earlier target of hiring 150,000 workers six weeks ahead of schedule, taking in 5,000 people per day on average at a time when millions of Americans are losing their jobs amid unprecedented “stay-at-home” orders from state and local governments.

The measures to control the spread of the disease have brought economic activity to a virtual standstill, forcing companies to take drastic steps to save cash.

The S&P 500 index has fallen 15% from its February record high, while Walmart’s stock has surged more than 10% in the same period.

Walmart said it had worked with more than 70 companies that furloughed workers due to the pandemic to hire its 150,000 new employees, many of whom came from the restaurant and hospitality industries.

The company said 85% of the workers being hired are going into temporary or part-time roles.

Skyrocketing demand for food, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and other household products has also prompted retailers Kroger, Target and Amazon.com Inc to hire by the thousands.

Separately, Walmart said it will now require its U.S. staff to wear masks or other face coverings at work, making its face-covering policy mandatory from optional in line with public health guidance.

“This includes our stores, clubs, distribution and fulfillment centers as well as in our corporate offices”, Walmart U.S. President John Furner said in a memo.

The company is also extending its emergency leave policy through the end of May, according to the memo.

(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Kanishka Singh; Editing by Devika Syamnath, Robert Birsel)