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Government shutdowns of “nonessential” retailers were a huge gift for Amazon, Walmart, and Target

Vox/Recode – “When stay-at-home orders due to the Covid-19 pandemic forced many US brick-and-mortar retailers to close up shop late winter and into this spring, some industry observers feared the government measures would widen the existing gap between the retail industry’s haves and have-nots. A few months later, that fear has become reality. Amazon, Walmart, and Target all recently reported record sales or profits metrics for their second quarters ending in June or July, as government-mandated store closures gave consumers fewer options for brick-and-mortar shopping and more consumers moved their spending online. Big grocery chains as well as home-improvement giants like Home Depot and Lowe’s that were deemed essential have also fared well. Meanwhile, large specialty retailers that don’t sell groceries but that were doing fine pre-pandemic, like Kohl’s and the parent company of TJ Maxx and HomeGoods, have suffered steep declines, in part because governments determined they were “nonessential” and forced their doors closed in big markets for extended periods of time. Meanwhile, already-struggling department store chains like Macy’s announced large layoffs and store closures earlier this year, and their upcoming earnings reports could paint an even bleaker picture…”

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