COVID-19-Related Costs Top $7B For US Retailers

retail worker with mask

Some of the largest online and brick-and-mortar retailers in the United States have spent more than $7 billion for everything from Plexiglas partitions and face masks to extra pay since the coronavirus crisis hit in March.

Amazon has reported some of the biggest coronavirus related costs so far, anticipating $4 billion in added costs in the second quarter alone, Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos told investors during a wrap of the company’s first-quarter financial results.

Bezos noted the added costs for the giant online retailer will likely equal the amount of money Amazon would have expected to have reaped in profit in routine times. Testing alone will cost the company $300 billion in the second quarter, and $1 billion during 2020.

It also represents a more than six-fold increase over Amazon’s coronavirus spending in the first quarter, which tallied $600 million.

Meanwhile, Walmart, the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer, along with Target and Home Depot have reported spending a collective $2.75 billion so far on personal protective gear, extra pay, and on a myriad of additional costs as they grapple with the fallout from the pandemic, the retailers have reported in their quarterly earnings reports and other public statements.

Costco and Kroger together have spent another billion keeping their employees safe, bringing the pandemic bill for six of the largest retailers in the U.S. to $7.75 billion.

And that number is growing by the day, as U.S. retailers continue to deal with the realities of an ongoing pandemic, with coronavirus cases spiking now in many Sunbelt and rural states even as they decline in the Northeast, where COVID-19 initially hit the hardest.

Even so, some of the extra payroll costs are slated to go down, with retailers starting to phase out hourly wage bumps and bonuses doled out to workers during the darkest months of the health crisis.