Coronavirus

Groceries, Retailers Limit Purchase Of Coronavirus Supplies; Hotels Deal With Cancellations

Grocery Stores, Hotels Deal With Coronavirus Effects

Target and Kroger, along with other grocery chains, have been limiting the number of items, like disinfectants, that customers can buy in the wake of a shopping frenzy over coronavirus fears, according to a report by Bloomberg

Target cut customers to six items per person, spokesperson Danielle Schumann said on Monday (March 9). In store signs say explain that the move is because of “high demand.”

Kroger made a similar move earlier in the month, restricting shoppers to five items.

Many stores have struggling to keep up with demand in the face of the virus. Costco Wholesale Corp.’s Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti said that in February, comparable sales were up three percentage points. 

“It’s been a little bit crazy,” he said.

Even seeming non virus-related products like patio furniture have seen an increase in sales.

“The most important risk we see is that consumer confidence in the middle class is fragile,” said Sanford Bernstein analyst Brandon Fletcher. “It collapsed quickly in one month in the 2018 correction and that was just about markets. Now, we have market risks and health risks at the same time. If the recession risks were plausible before, they are more real now.”

The hotel industry is facing a bit of an opposite problem, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Many hotels have watched stays plummet in the face of cancellations, travel restrictions by corporations and deepening stock losses. Meanwhile, hotels are forced to cut expenses as the virus soaks up all demand.

Ryman Hospitality Properties, which owns many large hotels, said that the rush of cancellations has forced it to pull its 2020 forecast. Pebblebrook Hotel Trust was forced to do the same thing on Monday. 

“I’m very surprised at this point that others have not,” said Patrick Scholes, an analyst at Suntrust Robinson Humphrey Inc. “Historically, this has been an industry that has been highly reluctant to take down their numbers or talk negatively about trends unless their feet have been held to the fire and it’s painfully obvious they have no choice.”

Ryman owns over 10,000 rooms and 2.7 million square feet of meeting space, and it said it’s working diligently to manage in the face of declining revenue.

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