Since the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis has forced hundreds of thousands of stores to close, retailers have no choice but to fully switch their sales strategy online.
In the United States, iconic store chains have decided to let their workers go: from Macy’s, to Gap Inc. Ross Stores Inc. and even the world-famous Victoria’s Secret owner L Brands Inc.
According to Bloomberg, more than a million workers were laid off in the United States – but as the groups have local holdings in Europe and Canada, the crisis could deepen even more.
Nonetheless, stores have, for the majority, decided to modernise their online sales strategy.
250,000 stores closed
Since more than 250,000 stores have closed in the United States according to Global Data Retail.
“While grocery stores and online retailers have been deemed essential and continue to operate, department store chains and other “nonessential” retailers, big and small, have been forced to close up shop”, stated Vox.
Most of the biggest store chains have decided to cut their workforce in order to limit financial losses, as the crisis, deepens.
Mall and department store retailers have:
– large debts
– sales down 80 – 100%
– disrupted supply chains
– piles of seasonal products they can't move @washingtonpost outlines how some of these "temporary" store closures could end up permanent #Retail https://t.co/aHwVYY2CHX
— meaghanbrophy (@meaghanbrophy) April 7, 2020
As a result, nearly 1 million workers were furloughed during the first week of April, according to the Washington Post.
Since most of the stores are closed, foot traffic has declined in physical stores that remained open for the last two weeks of March. During the same period of time, foot traffic declined by 97%.
Walmart and Amazon are hiring
In comparison, grocery stores, such as Walmart, have seen their sales increase tremendously. America’s biggest supermarket chain has announced it will hire 150,000 workers by the end of May. Walmart’s share went from $104 on 12 March to $121 on 9 April.
“Dollar General and CVS Health will hire 50,000 workers, Instacart will add 300,000 shoppers, Amazon plans to add 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers” -jobs in the time of pandemic. https://t.co/nRdM95LpFN
— Barbara Malmet (@B52Malmet) April 9, 2020
In addition, Amazon has announced it will hire 100,000 workers due to a surge of orders. Right after the announcement, Amazon’s shares soared: while on 16 March, its shares traded at $1,689, reaching $2,042 on 9 April.
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Online sales are trending
In the meantime, online sales are surging. For example, Victoria Secret’s decided to relaunch its online store, after confirming warehouse workers will stay six feet apart, according to the new World Health Organization recommendations.
New industries are also coming of age, such as electronics and health – in-home gym equipment, supplements, and health foods that “experienced a 91% and 109% increase” according to Business Insider.
Last but not least Quantum Metric numbers revealed online clothing shopping was up 43% in the United States since January with an average order value up 26%.