Recognizing Retail Heroes

Retailers Lift Up Communities During the COVID-19 Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our way of life around the globe. In this section, we will be recognizing many of the retailers that are doing their part to keep their employees and customers safe, as well as those helping communities, hospitals, and other essential organizations. This list is not comprehensive, and we express our gratitude to all retail heroes during this difficult time.

 

Below are examples of retailers making a difference around the world (April 27 – may 18):

 

M&S is launching a six-week TV, social media and in-store campaign highlighting how British farmers and growers are keeping shops supplied with meat, fish, produce and dairy products throughout the coronavirus crisis.

 

Read more. April 27, 2020

 

Food Retailers Take Lead on COVID-19 Testing.

 

Read more. April 28, 2020

 

Boots pharmacies have started offering domestic abuse victims who are isolating with perpetrators access to safe spaces in its consultation rooms.

 

Read more. May 1, 2020

 

Kroger is purchasing 200,000 gallons of milk from dairy farmers that were struggling to find new buyers to purchase their extra supply. The milk will be sent to Feeding America’s network of food banks.

 

Read more. May 1, 2020

 

Having pledged to accelerate the payout for its quarterly incentive, Walmart has paid out almost $180 million in cash to hourly associates. The retailer has also met its goal of hiring 200,000 associates across fulfillment centers, clubs, stores, and distribution centers.

 

Read more. May 1, 2020

 

Nike is donating more than 30,000 pairs of Air Zoom Pulse shoes to healthcare workers in NYC, LA, Memphis and Chicago. Pairs will also be given to the Veterans Health Administration.

 

Read more. May 6, 2020

 

Old Navy will be distributing $30 million worth of clothing to U.S. families affected by COVID-19 through various nonprofit organizations.

 

Read more. May 18, 2020

 

Southern Co-Op donated £2,500 from their community fund, Love Your Neighbourhood, to purchase six iPads for COVID-19 patients so they may stay in touch with their friends and family. Monetary donations from customers at 13 Bristol stores also helped provide additional donations to a hospital ward.

 

Read more. May 20, 2020

 

 

Below are examples of retailers making a difference around the world (April 17 – april 24):

 

Majid Al Futtaim lit up their Ski Dubai, Ski Egypt and Sheraton Mall of the Emirates buildings blue as part of the global #LightItBlue initiative, which shines a light on all essential workers.

 

Read more. April 17, 2020

 

Delivered direct to homes in two packages by Australia Post, the Coles Community Box contains grocery items and household items for healthy meals and snacks, plus some everyday essentials.

 

Read more. April 18, 2020

 

The Kroger Co has created a $10 million relief fund from their The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger/Zero Waste Foundation to help boost pandemic response efforts in the country.

 

Read more. April 20, 2020

 

Under Armour is offering 40% off all purchases for first responders and healthcare workers, as well as active police, nurses, firefighters, doctors and EMTs.

 

Read more. April 20, 2020

Walmart has committed to hiring an additional 50,000 associates after reaching their initial pledge to hire 150,000 new associates in one month. The retailer has worked with more than 70 companies that have furloughed workers to fill key roles.

 

Read more. April 20, 2020

 

McDonald’s will be showing their gratitude to the healthcare workers, police officers, firefighters and paramedics committed to health and safety during the pandemic by offering free “Thank You Meals” from April 22 to May 5.

 

Read more. April 21, 2020

 

Meijer has started a new Buy Local meal program to help support local restaurants that are struggling due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Meals are being ordered from these establishments for its front-line team of employees working at supercenters, grocery stores, and distribution centers.

 

Read more. April 21, 2020

 

Luxottica recently launched its “Protect Our People” initiative, which aims to ensure the safety of its employees and their families. Luxottica will ship masks directly to the home of any employee who needs them.

 

Read more. April 21, 2020

 

Nike has committed $600,000 to help local organizations in NYC provide food assistance, support healthcare workers, and fund personal protective equipment.

 

Read more. April 21, 2020

 

Albertsons Companies announced a $50 million commitment to hunger relief through its Nourishing Neighbors Community Relief campaign to meet the basic needs of their neighbors across the more than 2,200 neighborhoods and 34 states it serves.

 

Read more. April 22, 2020

 

The Qurate Retail Group has committed $29 million towards helping COVID-19 victims, relief efforts, organizations fighting the disease, as well as small businesses.

 

Read more. April 22, 2020

 

7-Eleven has opened its first-ever hospital pop-up store at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, TX. The pop-up shop has groceries, personal care products, and fresh food options available for purchase.

 

Read more. April 22, 2020

 

Publix started an initiative to buy milk and produce directly from local farmers to donate to Feeding America member food banks in its communities. 150,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk will be donated in the first week alone.

 

Read more. April 22, 2020

 

Shout out to the LP pros at Coles, Target Australia, Sainsburys, Next Plc, Abercrombie & Fitch, Nike, Next Athleisure, Spotlight Retail Group, and Kookai Australia for sharing their insights on pandemic crisis management and recovery with the retail community on April 23 with the help of Retail Knowledge.

 

Read more. April 22, 2020

 

Kroger has created its own guide that contains best practices, suggested protocols and creative assets to help businesses safely reopen.

 

Read more. April 22, 2020

 

Waitrose launched a #DesignYourSuperBear competition, which calls for kids to design their own superhero-themed bear. The winner will be in shelves during the holidays, with all proceeds going to the NHS.

 

Read more. April 24, 2020

 

Under Armour has created a #THROUGHTHISTOGETHER t-shirt, with 100% of the net proceeds going to DonorsChoose’s “Keep Kids Learning” initiative, which helps give teachers what they need to continue educating their students at a distance.

 

Read more. April 24, 2020

 

 

Below are examples of retailers making a difference around the world (April 14 – April 16):

 

Co-op chief executive Steve Murrells has agreed to a 20 per cent pay cut over the next three months to begin its Members’ Coronavirus Fund.

 

Read more. April 14, 2020

 

Abercrombie & Fitch associates in Ohio started the Ohio Save a Hero Campaign, which helps provide PPE to healthcare workers.

 

Read more. April 14, 2020

 

Southeastern Grocers surprised first responders and health care professionals across all stores throughout the seven states in the Southeast with a $0 grocery total at the register on Monday.

 

Read more. April 14, 2020

 

In Australia, Craveable Brands’ Red Rooster has joined forces with a volunteer meal program to help supply frontline medical staff with free meals.

 

Read more. April 15, 2020

 

American Eagle Outfitters Foundation, which owns American Eagle and Aerie, announced it would donate $1 million to COVID-19 relief efforts, as well as one million masks to public health workers.

 

Read more. April 15, 2020

 

Waitrose has provided £200,000 to Waitrose & Partners Foundation communities in Africa and Central America, where some of its produce is grown, picked and packed.

 

Read more. April 16, 2020

 

Walgreens announced a Frontline Hero Discount Day that will take place on April 25. Frontline workers will receive a 30 percent discount off regularly priced Walgreens brands and 20 percent off regularly priced national brands.

 

Read more. April 16, 2020

 

Abercrombie & Fitch store associates in the New York and New Jersey regions have contributed cloth masks and hand sanitizers to local hospitals and senior centers and have raised money to feed healthcare works during their double shifts.

 

Read more. April 16, 2020

 

 

Below are examples of retailers making a difference around the world (March 12 – April 9): 

 

Walgreens is waiving delivery fees for all eligible prescriptions and offering free delivery for any online purchases.

 

Read more. March 12, 2020.

 

Louis Vuitton is converting cosmetic factories to produce hand sanitizer and delivering it free of charge to hospitals in France.

 

Read more. March 16, 2020

 

CVS is waiving charges for home delivery of prescriptions.

 

Read more. March 17, 2020.

 

Dick’s Sporting Goods is offering curbside contactless pickup.

 

Read more. March 17, 2020

 

Rite Aid is waiving delivery fees for eligible prescriptions.

 

Read more. March 18, 2020

 

Under Armour’s $2 million in donations will provide community support for those impacted by the pandemic.

 

Read more. March 19, 2020

 

Whole Foods is giving hourly employees another $2 per hour for their extra efforts in serving customers during the pandemic.

 

Read more. March 20, 2020

 

The GIANT Company is donating a total of $250,000 to four hunger relief organizations to help families and seniors facing hunger. These organizations supply food to hundreds of soup kitchens, shelters, and pantries.

 

Read more. March 20, 2020

 

Petco invests $2 million in new Partner Assistance Fund to support employees in need.

 

Read more. March 22, 2020

 

Verizon has given all wireless customers an additional 15GB of high-speed data. They will also waive overage charges and late fees to those affected by the crisis.

 

Read more. March 23, 2020

 

Stop & Shop donated $1 million to be divided among its 13 regional food bank partners in its efforts to fight food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Read more. March 23, 2020

 

Walmart has installed plexiglass barriers or partitions to protect both shoppers and employees from the spread of COVID-19.

 

Read more. March 24, 2020

 

Kinney Drugs announced that they will be offering free home delivery of prescriptions and waiving their regular $2 fee for all other home deliveries.

 

Read more. March 24, 2020

 

Lululemon is creating a $2 million global relief fund for store ambassadors who may need financial assistance due to the pandemic.

 

Read more. March 24, 2020

 

Nike is offering free workouts on its NTC (Nike Training Club) app as the coronavirus forces people inside.

 

Read more. March 24, 2020

 

JOANN Stores began donating materials to anyone looking to sew together masks, gowns, or other essential medical equipment for healthcare workers.

 

Read more. March 24, 2020

 

Giant Food donated $550,000 and 1,200 hams to five Feeding America food banks in the Washington D.C. region to help those impacted by the pandemic.

 

Read more. March 25, 2020

 

Starbucks is donating $500,000 to support front-line responders and offering free coffee to them.

 

Read more. March 25, 2020

 

Walmart announced most associates will be provided instant access to 50% of their earned, net wages weekly through June. The retailer also waived a $4 telehealth doctor visit fee and are giving associates access to free behavioral counseling.

 

Read more. March 25, 2020

 

Harbor Freight Tools is donating its entire supply of PPE to hospitals with 24-hour emergency rooms in areas where their stores are located. Donated items will include their entire stock of N95 masks, face shields and 45 million pairs of protective gloves.

 

Read more. March 25, 2020

 

AT&T is waiving late payment fees and data, voice, and text overage charges for any customer experiencing hardships.

 

Read more. March 26, 2020

 

7-Eleven plans to hire up to 20,000 store associates and is installing plexiglass sneeze guards at the sales counter in all of its U.S. stores. Free delivery via the app.

 

Read more. March 26, 2020

 

Ralph Lauren announced a commitment of $10 million through its Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation which will, in part, give financial grants for employees facing special circumstances like medical, elder care, or childcare needs.

 

Read more. March 26, 2020

 

Gap Foundation will be donating over $1 million to local, state, national and international non-profit organizations.

 

Read more. March 27, 2020

 

Columbia Sportswear employees to receive regular pay as CEO cuts own salary to $10,000.

 

Read more. March 29, 2020

 

L.L.Bean employees who typically sew the iconic Bean Boots and totes started sewing Bean’s dog bed liners into medical masks on Monday, with plans for as many as 10,000 a day.

 

Read more. March 30, 2020

 

Kohl’s announced that they will continue to provide existing health benefits to furloughed associates as well as offering free in-store pickup for online orders.

 

Read more. March 30, 2020

 

At Ascena Retail Group, furloughed associates who are participating in any of the company’s medical benefit plans will keep those benefits.

 

Read more. March 30, 2020

 

Employees enrolled in health benefits will continue to receive coverage, at least through May.

 

Read more. March 30, 2020

 

Ulta Beauty is paying store and salon associates through mid-April and providing benefits for those currently enrolled. Associates actively working at the distribution centers will receive a $2/hour wage premium.

 

Read more. March 30, 2020

 

Macy’s specified that employees enrolled in health benefits will continue to receive coverage, at least through May.

 

Read more. March 30, 2020

 

Food Lion announced a $3.1 million donation to help the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic and to assist in funding medical research.

 

Read more. March 31, 2020

 

KFC donated 1 million pieces of chicken for franchisees to distribute. It also donated $400,000 to Blessings in a Backpack.

 

Read more. March 31, 2020

 

Under Armour is providing 28,000 health care providers and staff from the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) with face masks, face shields, specially equipped fanny packs, and is exploring fabricating hospital gowns.

 

Read more. March 31, 2020

 

Williams-Sonoma announced the activation of the company’s entire portfolio of brands today to assist with the relief and recovery efforts of No Kid Hungry.

 

Read more. April 2, 2020

 

Hennes & Mauritz has started producing safety masks to aid healthcare workers in the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus, starting with 100,000 units shipped into the virus hotbeds of Spain and Italy.

 

Read more. April 3, 2020

 

The Waitrose in South Harrow has turned their café into a pop-up shop that allows NHS workers to quickly grab the essentials they need all in one place.

 

Read more. April 4, 2020

Kroger has installed protective barriers at checkout lanes and pharmacy counters, as well as floor markers to promote social distancing. They also designated senior-only shopping hours.

 

Read more. April 7, 2020

 

VF Corporation offices and retail locations across North America remain closed until May 3. Retail employees will continue receiving full pay and benefits during this time.

 

Read more. April 7, 2020

 

VF in the EMEA region has decided to temporarily reduce the working time for employees while keeping salaries at or above 95 percent of normal pay.

 

Read more. April 7, 2020

 

Hannaford Supermarkets is donating $750,000 to several hunger relief and homeless outreach organizations throughout the Northeast to support at-risk members of the community during the pandemic.

 

Read more. April 7, 2020

 

Ocean State Job Lot launched a “Mask Fabric for Free” campaign. The campaign will supply its customers with the fabric needed to create an estimated two million homemade cloth face masks at no cost.

 

Read more. April 7, 2020

 

KFC in the UK is sending a feast of fried chicken and burgers to home care staff at the Abbeywood care home in Ash Vale, near Aldershot.

 

Read more. April 8, 2020

 

To salute those on the frontline fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Burger King is giving away 250,000 Whopper sandwiches to nurses.

 

Read more. April 9, 2020

 

M&S providing pyjamas for NHS workers to wear as scrubs and clothing packages for NHS Nightingale patients.

 

Read more. April 9, 2020

 

UNIQLO Canada will donate 200,000 masks to high-priority medical facilities across Canada.

 

Read more. April 9, 2020

 

IKEA Canada to provide approximately $2.3 million in product and supply donations to first focus its relief efforts on vulnerable communities including the homeless, newcomers, refugees, and children.

 

Read more. April 9, 2020

 

 

Author

Leslie Nienaber, Digital Marketing Specialist, Appriss Retail 

Leslie researches business trends and distills the information for a retail audience. Her marketing experience has covered a wide variety of industries, including promotional products, microbiology, print, and mail. She spent five years in the retail industry before graduating with her Bachelors in Business Administration from John Carroll University.

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