Nordstrom sales plunge 40%, but retailer touts its flexibility
SEATTLE — Nordstrom insists it is well-positioned moving forward despite reporting a 40% drop in first-quarter sales and a loss of more than half a billion dollars in a coronavirus walloping far worse than analysts expected.CEO Erik Nordstrom told analysts in a conference call after results were released Thursday that the company’s inventory reductions and increased online emphasis leave it with enough liquidity and flexibility as the nation begins to reopen. The company this month reopened nearly 40% of its stores — mostly in smaller markets — and implemented curbside pickup at most full-line...
The Seattle Times
A PPE fee at the dentist? New requirements could raise prices for patients
PHILADELPHIA — When the dentist’s office called to cancel Laura Lizcano’s appointment for a crown and cavity filling in March because of the coronavirus, she wasn’t terribly worried.The 25-year-old freelance musician didn’t know at the time that the pandemic would keep medical offices closed for months — and prevent her from getting her teeth taken care of before she lost her health insurance.Lizcano, who lives in Queen Village, will be dropped from her mother’s insurance plan at the end of May after turning 26, the age limit for children to be covered by a parent.Now, at a time when she’s los...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Target sees biggest sales jump in 15 years, but profits take a big hit
MINNEAPOLIS — Target saw its biggest quarterly sales jump in 15 years as the pandemic spurred millions of consumers to order items online and to use its curbside pickup service for the first time.The pandemic also took a bigger-than-expected toll on its profits as sales of higher-margin apparel declined 20% and it had to write down mountains of unsold clothing as consumers dramatically shifted spending to groceries and household supplies.But CEO Brian Cornell said the Minneapolis-based retailer saw a big uptick in apparel sales in mid-April as consumers received stimulus checks.“Apparel certai...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
All this food with nowhere to go. Restaurant distributor finds new demand in supermarkets, carryout and home delivery
CHICAGO — Eugene Lam, vice president of Chicago Oriental Wholesale Market, watched COVID-19 shutdowns deflate demand from his biggest customers: restaurants, airlines, casinos.But orders at the food service distributor founded by his parents 27 years ago perked up in other areas.Supermarkets, normally 20% of his business, became 40% as their orders doubled and shifted to include more shelf-stable products and cleaning supplies. Restaurants offering carryout, particularly in the medical district, became a focus. The company, based in an industrial zone between Pilsen and Chinatown, struggled to...
Auto review: Affordable Nissan Sentra makes your pulse accelerate, until you hit the gas pedal
COVID-19 times are lean times. Toilet paper is priceless. Attorneys general are on the lookout for price-gouging.They won’t need to waste their time at the Nissan dealership.The loaded all-new compact Nissan Sentra SR Premium that I tested is $25,325. I’m not making that up. That includes sunroof, 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome grille, LED everything, floating black roof. Heated six-way automatic seats, heated steering wheel, automatic box, leatherette seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, adaptive cruise-control, blind-spot assist, automatic emergency-braking, stitched dash with Mercedes-style...
The Detroit News
Coronavirus has consumers making 'extraordinary' number of price-gouging complaints
PHILADELPHIA — One store in Philadelphia doubled the price for a pack of face masks to $50. Another charged $16 for 24 bottles of water that typically sell for less than $10. In Chester, a grocery store hiked the price for a six-pack of paper towels from $7 to $10.Those are just some of the almost 4,500 complaints that Pennsylvanians have filed with the state Attorney General’s office claiming price gouging during the coronavirus pandemic. In New Jersey, consumers have filed more than 3,900 price-gouging complaints, almost all alleging unlawful increases on essentials such as food, water and c...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Pork plant closings send wholesale prices soaring — a signal of costlier hams, bacon and chops to come
Wholesale prices for pork are soaring as big packers, including Smithfield Foods, close plants because of coronavirus outbreaks. That means supermarket prices are likely to follow in the next few weeks.Bacon prices doubled just over the past week, while hams rose by 32%, port butts by 34%, ribs by 26% and loins by 12%, U.S. Department of Agriculture reports show.Smithfield this month has closed two major processing plants, in South Dakota and Illinois, after workers in them tested positive for the coronavirusThose two together account for 7% to 8% of the nation’s fresh pork production. Along w...
Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)
Captain Comics: More days of gloom and doom for comic book industry
Roughly every 20 years, Zombie Chicken Little rises from his grave and predicts the end of the comic book industry. The last time was in the late ‘90s, sooo … yep, here he comes, shambling along right on schedule.And, honestly, he could be right this time. A few weeks ago, Diamond Comic Distributors Inc. — which has a virtual monopoly on distributing comic books in North America — announced it would stop distributing to retailers all material scheduled for April and beyond, and directed printers not to send it any new shipments.That was unwelcome news to virtually everyone. Retailers need the ...
Tribune News Service
Texas regulators weigh production cuts to boost oil prices
AUSTIN, Texas — With crude prices plummeting to 20-year lows and tens of thousands of oil workers already laid off, the Texas agency that oversees the oil and gas industry will meet Tuesday to discuss the prospect of curtailing statewide oil production for the first time since the 1970s.The meeting comes as some independent oil producers, including Austin-based Parsley Energy, urge the Texas Railroad Commission to use its authority to reduce oil production to stabilize a volatile oil and gas market.The recent downturn, sparked by a geopolitical skirmish between Russia and Saudi Arabia that led...
3M suit: Distributor tried to sell N95 masks to New York City for 600% above list price
3M has sued a medical supply company for allegedly trying to sell its coronavirus-blocking N95 respirator mask for 500 to 600% more than the list price.The masks are among the most coveted kind of personal protective equipment for health workers treating victims of COVID-19.3M charged that Performance Supply LLC, a company based in New Jersey, falsely claimed a business affiliation with the Minnesota-based corporation that is a global leader in respirator production.The suit in federal district court in New York City alleges that Performance Supply tried to sell New York City $45 million worth...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)