Starbucks Launches $10M Global Employee Relief Fund, Other COVID-19 Retail News
As noted in the opening message of today's Total Retail Report, the news roundup will feature all positive stories related to how retailers and brands are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that it's necessary to spotlight the positive stories of how retailers and brands are stepping up to help their employees, customers and communities during this challenging time. Remember that despite all the ominous headlines, there are still reasons for the retail industry to be proud. Here are some of them:
- Starbucks has launched a $10 million global relief fund to support employees “facing extreme hardship” because of the coronavirus. The Starbucks Global Partner Emergency Relief Fund provides one-time grants to workers at both company-operated and international licensed units. The money will go to support funds in the U.S. and Europe, and will create a system for international Starbucks operations to set up their own funds, with the Seattle-based company making an initial contribution. In March, Starbucks announced that it would pay workers an additional $3 an hour through April 19.
- Independently owned-and-operated True Value hardware stores across the country are joining True Value Company's Shine-A-Light campaign by hanging decorative lights in their storefronts to express goodwill, hope and solidarity. Known for being a resource in times of crisis, True Value stores are hanging lights to help lift spirits and show solidarity with their communities. Furthermore, hardware stores have been deemed an "essential" business and the lights help remind people that True Value stores are open and ready to serve in whatever way is needed.
- Out of the Box Ventures, a subsidiary of Miami-based global real estate development firm Lionheart Capital, is supporting its tenants during this unprecedented economic situation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic by significantly reducing rents for most tenants, many of which are retail organizations. This translates to a rent drop for these tenants of 60 percent to 70 percent. In addition, the company is committed to passing along any further savings it may be able to receive from governmental or private institutions. These reductions will not take the form of a loan or promissory note, but instead will represent partial rent forgiveness for at least the next 60 days. Out of the Box Ventures owns over 6 million square feet of retail space nationally, includeing 30 properties in 17 states.
- Microsoft is giving its workers an additional three months of paid parental leave to deal with extended school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents who work for Microsoft can choose how and when to use the leave — whether it's a three-month stretch or a few days a week — a company spokesperson told CNN Business. The company is calling the program "12-Week Paid Pandemic School and Childcare Closure Leave." The policy is meant to "give our employees greater flexibility and time off as they face extended school closures," the spokesperson added.