- Irene Jiang / Business Insider
Welcome to the new era of The Drive-Thru, Business Insider’s weekly roundup of the biggest stories in restaurants and retail! I’m Shoshy Ciment, junior reporter here on the retail desk, and I’m taking over for Kate Taylor while she completes a reporting trip in Asia for the next two months.
I’m pretty excited to be leading your weekly round-up of retail news for the next several weeks. But if you’re a Kate devotee like I am, fear not. She will be back from her noble fast-food quest abroad in no time!
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A lot of major news stories this week made for many interesting retail angles. Here’s what you need to know.
The coronavirus hits stores in China
- Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images
An outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in Wuhan, China, has already killed over 200 people and infected thousands more.
Major retailers in neighboring Chinese cities are closing their doors to resist spreading the virus. KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, IKEA, McDonald’s, and more have all enacted temporary closures. Walmart has decided to stay open, but photos of the superstore reveal a dire situation there.
Fears of the virus have spread to other countries, leading to the number of face masks available on Amazon dwindling. Amid out-of-stocks, sellers are warning shoppers that some masks could be counterfeit.
Plus, Corona, the beer brand, which is completely unrelated to the virus, has become involved in a massive mix-up, Google search trends suggest. Luckily, the beer company says that it trusts its consumers to know that the beer and the virus have no connection to one another.
Kobe Bryant’s sneakers explode in resale
Bryant partnered with Nike and Adidas for various sneaker releases during his lifetime. Pairs of the athlete’s shoes on StockX, a leading resale marketplace, that had previously gone for less than $200 were being sold for upwards of $1,000 starting on Sunday.
Some consignors made it a point to bar sellers from doing this. And StockX even announced that it would donate proceeds from all Bryant-related sales to the late athlete’s foundation for a week following his death.
Some longtime Lowe’s employees see a pay cut
- Joey Hadden/Business Insider
Some Lowe’s employees are getting thousands of dollars cut from their annual pay, starting on Saturday.
The company announced the cuts via a notice sent out to sales specialists, a specialized job focused on closing deals.
Áine spoke to some longtime Lowe’s employees who are expecting to lose thousands of dollars a year thanks to the cuts. Some of these employees have quit or are planning to leave their jobs soon.
“I have to reorganize all my finances because $300 a month is a lot of money,” one Lowe’s employee told Áine.
Taste test of the week: The best cheap beer for Super Bowl Sunday
- Irene Jiang/Business Insider
This week was chock-full of taste tests. Irene got to try some plant-based Beyond fried “chicken,” courtesy of KFC and Beyond Meat, which she said was just good enough.
BUT the Super Bowl is this Sunday, so our featured taste test centers around a game-day staple: cheap beer.
Ten taste testers from Business Insider participated in a blind, five-part head-to-head, and there was a clear winner: Miller High Life.
Everything else you need to know:
- Some Hallmark stores are closing.
- Walmart is testing higher salaries for some jobs in 500 stores but is also laying off dozens of e-commerce employees.
- We got a first look at Nordstrom’s new resale store and saw how the department store model is evolving.
- If you’re expecting to birth twins this weekend, Pizza Hut wants to know.
- Macy’s tech workers are fearing layoffs.
- The controversial Nike Vaporfly running shoes are NOT banned.
- People are way too obsessed with Baby Yoda.
- Killing Mr. Peanut might have been a bad move.
- Wegmans > PCC.
- A 19-year-old sneakerhead shared the budget spreadsheet he uses for Sneaker Con.
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