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Opinion | We should be just as careful about covid-19 in relatives’ homes as we are in grocery stores

As the fall school term approached, universities thought that they could effectively implement similar protocols on campus. They instituted safeguards including reduced class size, improved classroom ventilation and daily symptom checks. The problem? Students got infected when they engaged in risky behaviors off-campus. At the University of New Hampshire, 11 cases were traced to a fraternity party hosting about 100 guests without masks. Medical degrees apparently provide no guarantee of safe gathering: A single party resulted in covid-19 infections in 18 anesthesiology residents and fellows training at the University of Florida.

At K-12 institutions, the hard work administrators and teachers are doing to enforce mask-wearing and physical distancing will be undone if kids gather after school without similar protections. The risk extends to parents, and increases as families come together with friends and relatives with whom they are likely to let down their guard.

I spoke this week with several public health officials from different parts of the country who noted this same trend. “In the beginning, we focused our efforts on homeless shelters, jails and workplaces that the city has the ability to regulate and enforce,” said Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. “But over the last few months, only 5 to 6 percent of our cases are being linked to these congregate settings.” She identified the current primary source of spread as informal social gatherings: barbecues, retirement parties and birth celebrations.

Nilesh Kalyanaraman, health officer for Anne Arundel County in Maryland, agrees. He said to me that when his team looks at the data, “We see that family gatherings are coming up as one of the biggest sources of spread.”

Why? “There’s a lot of magical thinking when it comes to covid,” Arwady said. “It’s natural to feel safe among those you know

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It’s boom time for discount stores in the land of luxury

In a country known for its love of the lavish and luxurious, discount stores are making a surprising impact on the UAE’s retail sector, with a spike in consumer spending during the past few months.

As the region has been rocked by salary cuts and job losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, insights from credit card company Visa reveal that, in non-food categories, discount stores, home improvement stores and pharmacies are the three categories with the largest growth in sales since lockdown measures were introduced.

At the same time, higher ticket value categories, such as apparel, accessories, electronics and department stores, saw double-digit drops in spending, according to Visa’s data.

This change in consumer spending habits can be partially attributed to the economic slowdown brought on by Covid-19, the company said, adding that the trends have been echoed in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

“We are seeing that the health crisis, income pressure, and more time at home is driving up pharmacies, discount stores and home improvement,” said Akshay Chopra, vice president of innovation and design for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at Visa.

Chopra was speaking at the Future Retail Experiences media virtual webinar when Visa shared its data to support the retail sector in navigating the “new normal” where both the online and brick and mortar retail channels need to be seamlessly integrated.

Brands for Less co-founder Yasser Beydoun recently revealed that the company’s online business increased by 50 percent during the coronavirus crisis.

Increased spending on home improvement is also unusual in the Arab region, where ease of access to cheap handymen and repair people tends to make consumers snub retail outlets.

“Home improvement is very interesting because people are now spending so much more time at home that they are finally getting

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Lowe’s Canada Recruits For Around 625 Jobs In RONA And Reno-Depot Stores In Quebec

(RTTNews) – Lowe’s Canada, affiliated to home improvement retailer Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (LOW), announced Wednesday that it is currently recruiting for positions in its RONA and Reno-Depot corporate stores in Quebec.

The company plans to fill more than 625 full-time and part-time regular positions in these stores.

Further, about 30 positions are available at the Boucherville distribution centre.

Lowe’s Canada said it offers associates several benefits, including a student incentive program providing a minimum of $200 to eligible associates in position for least three months, an award program, a flexible schedule, and exclusive discounts.

Marc Macdonald, Senior Vice-President, Human Resources at Lowe’s Canada, said, “We are looking for dynamic, customer-oriented individuals from all backgrounds, with or without experience, to immediately join our teams across the province, particularly in the Montreal Metropolitan Community, Gatineau, and Quebec City. As we navigate through uncertain times, we offer multiple career opportunities, stable and rewarding jobs, as well as a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment.”

Lowe’s Canada operates or services over 470 corporate and affiliated stores under different banners.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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B&M discount chain to open up to 45 stores

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Discount chain B&M has said it will open up to 45 new stores this year after sales soared during the coronavirus lockdown.

It said its business model was “well-attuned” to customer needs, with discount goods being sold at out-of-town stores.

Retailers have had mixed fortunes during the coronavirus pandemic.

In August, retail sales were boosted by increased spending on DIY, but clothing sales still lagged.

Supermarkets and DIY stores are among the retailers that have seen high demand during the pandemic as people stocked up on food and home improvement goods during and after lockdown.

Last week, Tesco and Morrisons again put limits on the number of some items that shoppers could buy to try to prevent a repeat of panic-buying which led to shortages in March.

Rising to the challenge

B&M, which sells goods including DIY and foodstuffs, said its staff had done well to keep up with demand during the half year.

It initially closed 60 stores in shopping centres during the pandemic, but reopened them quite quickly.

A spokesman for the group said that a lot of people were looking for ways of keeping spending down during the lockdown, which attracted new customers.

Those customers have kept coming back.

Group sales jumped by 25.3% between 29 March and 26 September, and the retailer raised its earnings forecast for the period to about £285m from its previous estimate of £250m to £270m.

“Our people have risen to the many challenges posed by the Covid-19 crisis, not least in serving our customers through a period of high demand, keeping our shelves filled, providing a clean and safe shopping environment, as well as sourcing higher volumes than we had planned,” said Simon Arora, B&M chief executive.

“I thank them all for their commitment, hard work and

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Mom and Pop Home Improvement Verses Big Box Stores

Ever since the first English settlements in Jamestown in 1607, entrepreneurs were using their home improvement skills to help build a better life. These specialized skills will always be needed, no matter how they are utilized and/or distributed. From plumbing to window installation, these trade services are practiced within all areas of civilized life.

Up until the end of the late 19th century, most home improvement services were worked by individuals or smaller mom and pop type businesses. Not until stores like Lowe’s started popping up in the early 20th century did we start seeing larger entities become highly competitive against the smaller mom and pop type home improvement businesses. The fact of the matter is, these large businesses could provide services for cheaper, but not necessarily better.

So, why do big box chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s provide home improvement services? Why don’t they just sell improvement goods? Isn’t the whole idea behind these large hardware stores to provide goods to do-it-yourselfers? Well, the problem is… more and more consumer do-it-yourselfers are buying their goods online. It saves time and allows the consumer to be more flexible when it comes to getting their job done. These big hardware stores are trying to send a message to these consumers. They want these people to not only buy their products, but also allow them to install it for them at minimal costs. By doing this, it could draw in consumers that need a job done, but can’t necessarily afford a mom and pop business. Not realizing, that these stores often do a poor job, because they use, in most cases, inexperienced staff.

The fact of the matter is… mom and pop home improvement businesses are usually family owned and operated. They pass down their many years of experience in their …

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