Amazon will convert more Whole Foods locations into ‘Dark Stores. is making more Whole Foods stores “dark stores”, which are solely dedicated to fulfilling online orders. According to a FOX Business Report, Amazon is making this move to meet increased grocery demand during the coronavirus epidemic. FOX reported that customers are now ordering groceries from Whole Foods Market via their stay-at home orders. “As we navigate COVID-19‘s challenges, we continue to seek ways to increase delivery availability, while navigating safety measures, social distancing, and security.” Amazon has already converted six Whole Food stores into dark stores, including one in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco. The company spokesperson stated that the conversions to online only are temporary.

Total Retail’s View: Whole Foods doesn’t have to close its stores in order to concentrate on pickup and delivery. Stop & Shop and HyVee recently closed their stores to the public to allow them to concentrate on pickup and delivery orders. This was in response to increased demand for online grocery services due to the pandemic. Online orders can be fulfilled faster and easier in dark stores than they are in regular grocery stores. This is because the staff can concentrate on fulfilling these orders, rather than working at cash registers or serving customers in-store. This tactic reduces exposure of grocery store workers to COVID-19 as it decreases the amount of people who enter the store and thus reduces exposure to all employees. Employees have more room to socially interact while filling orders when there are fewer people in the stores. Online grocery was one of the most significant consumer shifts in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. This necessitated dark stores. It will be interesting for us to see if there is an increase in online grocery shopping after the pandemic or if shoppers return to grocery shopping.

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Pier 1 Imports plans to shut down permanently after not finding a buyer

CNBC reported that Pier 1 Imports has announced it is seeking bankruptcy court approval to close down its business permanently. In a press release, the home goods retailer stated that it had been trying for months to find a buyer to continue the business’ operations. However, due to the COVID-19 crisis and the current retail environment, it was unable to do so.

Pier 1 intends to sell its inventory, remaining assets, and intellectual property. The retailer continues to serve customers through its ecommerce site, processing and filling orders. The retailer will begin closing down stores and selling liquidated goods once they are able to reopen in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines.

Total Retail’s View: Pier 1 filed bankruptcy in February, just before the coronavirus pandemic flipped the retail industry. This caused thousands of stores to close. Pier 1 planned to close half its stores permanently in February. However, Pier 1 was seeking a buyer to keep the business from closing down completely. Unfortunately, Pier 1 is not the only business considering bankruptcy or liquidation due to the pandemic. Stage Stores will liquidate all its stores if they can’t find buyers. J.C. Penney and Neiman Marcus also filed Chapter 11. Other retailers might need to file Chapter 11 protection, even if they are not liquidated, as the industry navigates these uncertain times.

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