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The coronavirus pandemic is putting America’s small businesses to the test of a lifetime. Millions might not survive — and many of the tens of millions of jobs they support could evaporate.
The big picture: None of the rescues that have emerged — including federal government loans and grants, states offering their own support programs, and even some in the private sector stepping up to help — has made the future look particularly bright.
This year's real-estate outlook is bleak, but commercial property rents are expected to improve over the next two years, according to the Urban Land Institute's annual survey of real estate economists and analysts.
The state of play: Brick-and-mortar retailers, which were already shrinking before the pandemic, are suffering across the board. Meanwhile, e-commerce is rapidly increasing its market share.
The seafood industry continues to struggle due to the coronavirus, even as more Americans are buying fish and shellfish at the grocery store, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Why it matters: The rise in seafood sales at the grocery store isn't enough to offset the economic loss the industry is dealing with. Nearly 70% of seafood sold is eaten at restaurants, which are either closed or are open in a limited capacity.
Walmart yesterday announced plans to shutter its Jet.com e-commerce brand, less than four years after buying it for $3.3 billion.
Under the hood: Appearances can be deceiving. Not only was this deal not a failure for Walmart, but it arguably was the retail industry's most successful acquisition ever of a tech company.
Target's digital sales jumped 141% during the first quarter as Americans upped their online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic, CNBC reports.
Yes, but: Even as digital sales increased, the pandemic still took a bite out of Target's profits, as supply chains shifted, stores increased cleaning protocols and customers moved away from higher-margin purchases in favor of staples like groceries.
Pier 1 Imports filed a motion seeking bankruptcy approval on Tuesday, planning to initiate the closure of its approximately 541 stores and liquidate its inventory and assets after COVID-19 retail restrictions are lifted, per a statement.
Why it matters: This is the latest in a string of nonessential retail closure announcements throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Chains that were already struggling financially have faced amplified shortfalls due to social distancing regulations and market uncertainty.
Facebook is launching a new online shopping marketplace called Facebook Shops, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday.
Why it matters: To date, most Facebook commerce has taken place between users via its Marketplace tab, a Craigslist-like feature, but Facebook Shops is at the center of its push to create an e-commerce platform for businesses.
Retail has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic as bankruptcies and store closures have accelerated, but that is creating opportunities for the companies that survive, especially as a period of surging traffic could be on the way, data firm Placer.ai says.
What they're saying: The much ballyhooed retail apocalypse is poised to benefit budget retail names like Ross and Kohl's that have gained market share in recent years.
U.S. retail sales fell 16.4% in April, even worse than the previous record fall set in March, as consumers pulled back on spending during the coronavirus economic lockdown.
Why it matters: It's another indication of how the pandemic is curtailing consumer spending, which is the main driver of the U.S. economy, as people stay home and a record number of Americans are out out work.