Apple will grow its Express store format from about 20 to 50 locations in the US and Europe by the end of the month, in a push to promote the new iPhone 12 and safer shopping. Shoppers must schedule an appointment to pick up online purchases or consult with Apple's service technicians.
Sam's Club has rolled out a new virtual experience for the holidays -- an online recreation of Clark Griswold's house from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" -- that allows shoppers to browse and buy gifts, holiday decorations and other items. Customers can choose from two different experiences, and both include interactive sections and movie trivia.
Google is reportedly testing a Nest Hub feature, code-named Blue Steel, that would trigger Assistant when users are near, removing the need to use a vocal wake word. The feature is thought to rely on ultrasound sensing or facial recognition, both of which the user can disable.
H.E. Butt Grocery will give all of its full- and part-time workers a $500 bonus in advance of the holiday season to show appreciation for their work during the pandemic. The extra pay will also go to employees at Mi Tienda, Central Market, Joe V's and Favor, as the grocer acknowledges the performance of front-line workers who "have confronted each obstacle with grace, compassion, strength and resilience."
Sam's Club will soon deploy a fleet of 372 autonomous floor-scrubbing robots in most of its 600 US stores, and the retailer also announced an expansion of a shelf analytics pilot program that uses an accessory to the cleaning robot. The machines feature an add-on that employs a cloud-based program to better analyze inventory and verify pricing accuracy, among other functions.
After meeting seven key guidelines aimed at expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities, Meijer has been named a Gold Level winner of the 2020 Employer Partners of Inclusion Awards, presented by Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities. The grocer has been recognized every year since the award was created in 2014, and Meijer Vice President Tim Williams says the honor acknowledges "one of our core values of treating all people with dignity and respect."
Target won't open its doors early on Black Friday or offer traditional doorbuster deals, to limit crowds because of the coronavirus crisis. Stores will open at 7 a.m., employees will limit the number of in-store shoppers, and customers will be able to check line status and reserve a spot remotely.
In almost five months as CEO of UPS, Carol Tomé has accelerated improvements to speed up deliveries while her company encountered burgeoning demand and had to create safety protocols for a workforce that cannot work remotely. Tomé, one of only 37 female CEOs in the Fortune 500, also says companies "have to be intentional" if they want to increase diversity in leadership positions.
American Eagle Outfitters has created a $5 million endowment to fund scholarships for employees who have proven themselves as advocates of social justice. Applicants will submit essays on how they're fighting racism, inequality or other social justice issues and if selected for the AEO Real Change Scholarship for Social Justice, each winner will receive up to $40,000.
UK supermarket chain ASDA has opened a test store, in collaboration with popular consumer brands, that's designed to promote more sustainable practices. The store features 15 stations offering foods, cosmetics and household products in a refillable design; a wider array of fresh foods packaged without plastic; and a stock of vintage clothing from wholesaler Pre-Loved.
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