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The good news stories we all need right now

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has hit the retail sector hard, from factories shutting down in China and disrupting stock levels in the months ahead, to consumers staying home and panic buying essentials, such as toilet paper, rice and canned goods.

Retailers are understandably worried about the impact of the global pandemic on their top line, let alone the health and safety of their staff. Despite this, businesses around the world are stepping up to help stop the spread of the virus and support their communities in some truly heartwarming ways.

Here are just a few examples of…

CEOs taking pay cuts to help reduce costs

Helloworld’s CEO and managing director Andrew Burnes will take a 30 per cent salary cut, the executive management team will take a 25 per cent salary cut and the chairman and directors will take no fees for the rest of the financial year to help the travel agent reduce costs, following the steep drop in flight bookings in recent weeks.

Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian will forgo 100 per cent of his salary for the next six months to help the US airline weather the storm, and Robin Hayes, the CEO of JetBlue, another US airline, will take a temporary 20 per cent pay cut.

Stores opening early for elderly and disabled shoppers

Woolworths has introduced an early morning shopping hour for seniors and people with disability to access essential items before stores officially open. The move is in response to the panic buying seen in supermarkets across Australia in recent weeks, which has left shelves bare of certain items, including toilet paper, hand sanitiser, rice, canned goods and other pantry staples.

British supermarket chain, Iceland, is also opening stores early for elderly and vulnerable shoppers, while a Scottish convenience store is giving away free “coronavirus kits” – including toilet paper, antibacterial handwash, tissues and anti-inflammatories – to seniors and those with mobility issues who are self-isolating due to COVID-19.

Retailers re-purposing space to healthcare efforts

Luxury giant LVMH will start using its perfume production lines to make hand sanitiser to help address the nationwide shortage of the anti-viral products in France. The company said it will provide the goods free of charge to health authorities for as long as necessary.

In the US, four national retail chains, including Walmart, Target, CVS and Walgreens, are donating space in the car parks to be used as drive-through testing facilities. The move is part of the Trump administration’s plan to increase access to COVID-19 testing across the country.

Businesses donating to hospitals and research organisations

Giorgio Armani has pledged to donate 1.25 million euros ($2.3 million) to a range of hospitals and institutions working to fight the spread of COVID-19 in Italy. The luxury brand, based in Milan, just last month, presented its Autumn-Winter 2020 collection to an empty theatre after Italian authorities implemented measures to stop the spread of the virus.

Facebook has also pledged to match up to US$20 million in donations made through its social media platforms, and will donate US$10 million each to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, which was started by the United Nations Foundation and the World Health Organisation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation in the US.

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