Boulder shooting victims include 3 employees at the King Soopers grocery store and an Instacart shopper

king soopers employees
Three King Soopers employees died in a deadly shooting.

Three King Soopers grocery store workers and an Instacart worker were among the 10 people killed in a shooting in Boulder, Colorado on Monday.

Police released the victims’ names on Tuesday morning. Among them are three people who worked at the store: Denny Stong, 20, Rikki Olds, 25, and Teri Leiker, 51.

Leiker had worked at King Soopers for roughly 30 years, with her friend Lexi Knutson telling Reuters that Leiker loved working at the grocery store.

“She loved going to work and enjoyed everything about being there,” Knutson told Reuters. “Her boyfriend and her had been good friends and began dating in the fall of 2019. He was working yesterday too. He is alive.”

Olds was a front-end manager at King Soopers, The Denver Post reports. Stong’s profile picture on Facebook was framed with the words: “I can’t stay home, I’m a Grocery Store Worker.”

A representative for Kroger, the parent company of King Soopers, said in a statement to Insider that the company is “horrified and deeply saddened by the senseless violence that occurred at our King Soopers store.”

“The entire Kroger family offers our thoughts, prayers and support to our associates, customers, and the first responders who so bravely responded to this tragic situation,” the statement continued. “We will continue to cooperate with local law enforcement and our store will remain closed during the police investigation.”

Read more: Workers file new sexual-harassment complaints against McDonald’s

Lynn Murray, 62, was shot while visiting the King Soopers as an Instacart shopper. Her husband, John Mackenzie, told The New York Times she had enjoyed working for Instacart after retiring from her career as a photo director.

“She was an amazing woman, probably the kindest person I’ve ever known,” Mackenzie told The Times. “Our lives are ruined, our tomorrows are forever filled with a sorrow that is unimaginable.”

“Violence of any kind has no place in our society,” Instacart founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta said in a social media post on Tuesday. “Our teams are working with law enforcement and the King Soopers team to assist in any way we can. We’ve reached out to the shopper’s family to offer our support & resources during this unimaginably difficult time.”

Mehta added: “For those members of our community who were shopping in the Boulder area, we’re also ensuring they’re able to take the time they need to grieve and recover from yesterday’s tragic events.”

The shooting serves as a stark reminder of the risks that retail workers face on the job.

“For the last year our members and other associates have fought an invisible enemy, COVID-19, but today several innocent souls were killed by an evil human,” Kim Cordova, the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, the union that represents employees at the King Soopers store, said in a statement.

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Regal Cinemas will reopen in April as new releases ramp up. Here’s how the company grew to be the second-largest theater chain in the country.

Regal Cinemas NYC
A Regal Cinemas remains closed during the coronavirus pandemic on May 3, 2020 in New York City

  • Regal is planning a phased reopening of more than 500 US theaters in April.
  • The theaters will open to play “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Mortal Kombat.”
  • In October, Regal closed US theaters indefinitely due to the pandemic and a lack of new releases.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Entrepreneur Mike Campbell started Regal Cinemas in 1989. It was headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, in an old warehouse, according to a contemporaneous Associated Press article.

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Regal.

Source: AP

The company’s first theater was in Florida, where Campbell renovated an already existing theater with new carpets, concessions, and screens, more than doubling its size.

GettyImages 1278628384
Regal theater.

Regal theaters grew, especially in the suburbs, and were known to be relatively upscale compared to competitors, with cafes selling cappuccinos and cookies inside. By 1995, Regal was the ninth-largest movie theatre chain in the US.

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Regal theater.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, AP

In 2001, with nearly 4,000 screens across 328 theaters, Regal became one of several theater chains to declare bankruptcy.

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Regal theater.

Source: The New York Times

In 2002, Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz became the majority owner in Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theaters, and Edwards Theaters, combining them all under the new parent corporation Regal Entertainment Group.

philip anschutz
Philip Anschutz.

Source: The New York Times

In 2008, Regal Entertainment acquired Consolidated Theatres, a movie chain with locations in mid-Atlantic states. The Department of Justice required Regal to divest some theaters in areas where it would otherwise have a monopoly.

Department of Justice Building
Department of Justice.

Regal was one of many companies to downsize in 2011, laying off many managers and projectionists to better compete with Netflix and Redbox.

regal cinemas
Regal.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

European chain Cineworld bought Regal in 2017 for $3.6 billion, making it the second-largest movie theater chain in the world.

FILE PHOTO: A Cineworld cinema logo is pictured in Canary Wharf in London, Britain, March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Keith Weir/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A Cineworld cinema logo is pictured in Canary Wharf in London

Source: CNN

The coronavirus pandemic hit Regal and all movie theaters hard, forcing Regal to close al its theaters indefinitely beginning March 17.

Movie theater Regal coronavirus
A man cycles past a shuttered movie theater in Times Square following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 17, 2020.

Source: Business Insider, Regal

Theaters began reopening throughout the summer according to local regulations, with social distancing measures keeping attendance low.

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Regal.

Regal announced in October it would close all 536 US theaters and 127 UK theaters.

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Regal theater.

In the press release, CEO Mooky Greidinger cited the lack of blockbuster releases that could potentially sustain theaters. The previous week, MGM pushed back the release of the James Bond film “No Time to Die” from November until next April.

No Time to Die UA

Source: Business Insider

Spiking COVID-19 cases in New York City reintroduced stricter measures for indoor gatherings. “Despite our work, positive feedback from our customers, and the fact that there has been no evidence to date linking any COVID cases with cinemas, we have not been given a route to reopen in New York,” Greidinger said.

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Regal theater.

Source: Cinemark

The closures affected more than 45,000 jobs in the US and UK, and Cinemark’s share prices dropped by more than a third since the announcement.

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Regal theater.

Source: Business Insider

Cineworld says a limited number of theaters will open on April 2 to screen “Godzilla vs. Kong.” Then on April 16, “Mortal Kombat” will be screened at even more theaters.

godzilla vs kong warner bros
“Godzilla vs. Kong.”

Source: Insider

Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger says the chain will be able to operate profitably in larger markets now that most states are allowing movie theaters to open to at least half capacity.

GettyImages 1305572049
Movie theater reopening.

Source: Insider

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With GameStop’s stock price still exploding, the ailing game retailer is considering selling new units to fund its future

WallStreetBets logo
WallStreetBets is the name of the popular Reddit forum where the initial GameStop short squeeze began.

  • GameStop’s stock price is still wildly inflated at just over $180 per share as of Tuesday afternoon.
  • The ailing retailer may take advantage of that inflated price by selling new units, it said Tuesday.
  • Those sales would fund the company’s ongoing “transformation” led by activist investor Ryan Cohen.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Ailing video game retailer GameStop has yet to cash in on the ongoing stock bubble impact its stock.

As of Tuesday afternoon, GameStop was trading at just over $180 per share – a tenfold increase over where it was before the bubble. But that could be about to change, according to a new SEC filing from GameStop.

“Since January 2021,” the filing says, in reference to when the stock bubble emerged, GameStop leadership has been “evaluating” whether it should “potentially sell shares.”

Read more: These are the kinds of charlatans who show up when Wall Street gets weird

One major issue with GameStop selling its own stock during a bubble is, of course, perception: GameStop leadership knows the current stock value is massively inflated, and selling stock right now could look pretty bad.

The filing acknowledges as much with a list of factors that are impacting its decision, including “capital needs and alternative sources and costs of capital available to us, market perceptions about us, and the then current trading price.”

Any money the company made from those sales could be used “to fund the acceleration of our future transformation initiatives,” the filing says. GameStop is currently amidst a “transformation” led by activist investor, board member, and former Chewy CEO Ryan Cohen.

As the leader of a new committee at the company, Cohen is attempting to do for GameStop what he did with Chewy: take on and defeat Amazon in a specific category of ecommerce.

At Chewy, it was pets. At GameStop, of course, it’s gaming.

ryan cohen millennial activist investor 2x1
Activist investor Ryan Cohen, of RC Ventures, owns 12.9% of GameStop’s shares.

Just over two years ago, in early 2019, GameStop’s stock value fell off a cliff: It dropped from about $16 per share to under $4.

And it stayed in that range for just shy of two years.

Even in 2020, while the video-game business (including GameStop) had huge gains during coronavirus lockdowns, GameStop’s stock price remained in the gutter. As recently as last August, the largest video-game retail chain in the world had a stock value of less than $5 per share.

But in the second half of 2020, with big financial names like Cohen and Michael Burry buying up shares in the ailing retailer, things started looking up. The company’s share value gradually increased until it outright surpassed its pre-collapse value in late 2020.

And then things got really weird: Between January 20 and January 26, GameStop’s stock value leaped from just over $35 per share to north of $140 per share. By January 27, it hit new highs of over $325 per share – an over 8,000% increase from just a few months ago.

Two months later, it’s late March and GameStop’s stock value still hasn’t returned to pre-bubble levels: As of this afternoon, it was trading at just over $180.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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Amazon is reportedly telling delivery drivers they must give ‘biometric consent’ so the company can track them as a condition of the job

Parcels are stored in a truck in a logistics centre of the mail order company Amazon.
Parcels are stored in a truck in a logistics centre of the mail order company Amazon.

  • Amazon delivery drivers will reportedly lose their jobs if they don’t give the company permission.
  • The form would allow Amazon to collect biometric data, like facial recognition, from the drivers.
  • News surfaced last month that Amazon was planning to roll out AI-powered cameras in its vehicles.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Amazon is telling its delivery drivers to sign a consent form that allows the company to track them based on biometric data as “a condition of delivering Amazon packages,” Motherboard’s Lauren Kaori Gurley reported on Tuesday.

Thousands of drivers across the US must sign the “biometric consent” paperwork this week, and if they don’t they’ll lose their jobs, according to Motherboard. The form, which was viewed by the outlet and published in the report, states that Amazon would be allowed to use “on-board safety camera technology which collects your photograph for the purposes of confirming your identity and connecting you to your driver account.” The system would then “collect, store, and use Biometric Information from such photographs.”

The technology specifically would track a driver’s location and movement, like how many miles they drive, when they brake and turn, and how fast they are driving.

As Motherboard noted, the drivers presented with the consent form are employed through third-party delivery partners that use Amazon’s delivery stations but who are still subject to the company’s working guidelines. An Amazon delivery company owner told the outlet that one of their drivers refused to sign, citing Amazon’s micromanaging as the reason.

Amazon did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

The report comes after Amazon announced in February that it would start using cameras equipped with artificial intelligence in its trucks to track the drivers while they work. One driver, per Reuters, quit over privacy concerns regarding the new cameras. Amazon told Insider in a previous statement that the new cameras were part of an effort to invest in “safety across our operations.”

Read more: More than 40% of surveyed Amazon employees say they wished they were in a union, a new Insider survey shows

The AI cameras are able to sense if a driver is speeding, yawning, or if they’re not wearing their seatbelt, among other motions. Each truck’s system includes four cameras: one with a view of the road, two that face the side windows, and one that faces the driver.

You can read the full report on Motherboard here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

GameStop reports $215 million loss in fiscal 2020, misses fourth-quarter expectations

gamestop store ps5
  • After a huge year for video games, GameStop reported its Q4 and fiscal 2020 earnings on Tuesday.
  • The company missed estimates, with $5 billion in revenue and a $215 million loss for the year.
  • GameStop has struggled over the past few years as consumers increasingly turn to digital storefronts.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Ailing video game retailer GameStop reported its fourth-quarter 2020 earnings on Tuesday afternoon, which also included the company’s fiscal year results ending February 1, 2021.

The company’s report came in shy of analyst expectations for the year, with $5 billion in revenue – a decrease from the previous fiscal year revenue of $6.4 billion dollars. For the fourth quarter, GameStop similarly missed expectations, with $2.1 billion in revenue.

The company lost $215 million in the 12 months ending February 1, 2021.

Here are the key numbers to watch from GameStop’s Q4/FY 2020 earnings:

  • Q4 2020 revenue: $2.1 billion. Analysts were expecting $2.2 billion.
  • FY 2020 revenue: $5.08 billion. Analysts were expecting $5.27 billion.

Despite the massive impact of the pandemic on video game sales in 2020, GameStop failed to reach analyst expectations.

“Our emphasis in 2021 will be on improving our E-Commerce and customer experience, increasing our speed of delivery, providing superior customer service and expanding our catalogue,” GameStop CEO George Sherman said in a press release.

The company previously highlighted supply constraints with new game consoles from Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox as a mitigating factor.

GameStop stores “experienced unprecedented demand for recently launched gaming consoles,” the company said in January. “While consumer demand far outpaced constrained supply,” the statement said, “these products will drive sales well into 2021 as console availability from our suppliers improves later in the year.” Sony has said it expects to have a more steady supply of its wildly popular PlayStation 5 console by some time in the fall.

GameStop’s ongoing “transformation”

Before becoming a “meme stock,” GameStop was at the early stages of a “transformation” led by activist investor, board member, and Chewy cofounder Ryan Cohen. Cohen’s investment firm, RC Ventures, owns 12.9% of GameStop – making Cohen the second-largest single shareholder.

The company announced in early January that Cohen and two of his former Chewy lieutenants would become new members of the board. Pending a vote in June, the trio will make up one-third of the board’s membership.

Soon after Cohen joined the board, major c-suite changes began as part of the “transformation.”

Amazon vet Matt Francis was hired on as the CTO in early February. A former Amazon Web Services engineering lead, he’s tasked with, “overseeing e-commerce and technology functions” for GameStop.

Then, in late February, CFO Jim Bell was suddenly forced out of his role at the company. The board of directors “lost faith” in Bell, according to a person familiar with the decision who spoke with Insider. This morning, ahead of the earnings release, another executive departed the company. And on Tuesday afternoon, another former Amazon exec was added to the company’s c-suite: Jenna Owens, who previously worked for Amazon and Google.

Developing

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

Read the original article on Business Insider

ETFs tracking oil, air travel and retail are soaring as investors pile into stocks tied to the reopening of the economy

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines at LAX
Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport.

  • As the US economy opens up, investors have been piling into stocks tied to hopes of renewed growth and consumer spending.
  • “ETFs are an instant global diversification to many different companies from around that industry,” Andrew Chanin, CEO of ProcureAM, told Insider.
  • Year-to-date, some ETFs tied to oil, air travel and retail have seen record highs.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell

Vaccine distribution is priming the economy for a reopening later this year, and the pace so far has been faster than officials expected. Optimism is growing and investors have been piling into stocks that were beaten down by the pandemic but are now set to thrive as economic activity restarts. Investors are finding ETFs to be a solid bet on a range of reopening plays, sending some funds soaring year-to-date in 2021.

“ETFs are an instant global diversification to many different companies from around that industry,” Andrew Chanin, CEO and co-Founder of ProcureAM, told Insider. Chanin is behind UFO, an ETF focused on space exploration launched in 2019. UFO, he said, is “for investors looking to get access to the space economy and don’t want to settle or just pick a couple of names.”

Year-to-date, ETFs tracking oil, air travel, and retail are soaring, thanks to the value stocks – typically well-established companies that are often undervalued and have lower price-to-earnings ratios – in their holdings that could appreciate with a burst of new economic activity.

Cyclical industries are usually attuned to various business cycles. Revenues are higher when there is economic growth and lower in times of contraction.

Andrew Slimmon, managing director and senior portfolio manager at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, in a recent note said he is “extremely bullish” on value stocks, especially after the Federal Reserve’s decision to keep its policy in place until the US economy rebounds last week.

Here are three ETFs that are benefitting from investor sentiment around the economic reopening:

1. USO

The United States Oil Fund primarily invests in listed crude oil futures contracts and other oil-related contracts. The ETF, which debuted in 2006, may also invest in forwards and swap contracts.

The roughly $3 billion fund has gained 26% year-to-date.

Oil prices have soared since mid-February due to outages in Texas from the freezing temperatures. Refineries have taken a while to bounce back from the historic blast of winter weather, causing inventories to drop. Still, a summer rally may be in store for the oil ETF amid a tighter market.

Bank of America in February said Brent Crude prices could hit $70 a barrel in the second quarter of 2021. This year, it could average $60, the bank said, raising its average price outlook by $10 a barrel.

2. JETS

The US Global Jets ETF invests in the global airline industry, which includes airline operators and manufacturers around the world.

Launched in 2015, the roughly $11.5 billion fund has gained 25% year-to-date.

The index utilizes a tiered weighting scheme driven by market capitalization and passenger load. 70% of its weight is in US large-cap passenger airlines with the top four companies receiving 10% each. The next five largest US or Canadian airlines each receive a 4% weighting.

United Airlines and American Airlines are the ETF’s biggest holding both at 11% each, followed by Southwest Airlines and Delta Airlines at roughly 10% each. Alaska Air Group takes up 4%

The airline industry was among those that suffered the most when large swaths of the global economy shut down, halting travel in nearly every part of the world for some time. Optimism is gaining, however, when the Transportation Security Administration in mid-March revealed that air travel spiked to its highest level in nearly a year.

3. XRT

The SPDR S&P Retail ETF primarily invests in the US retail industry from apparel, automotive, computer and electronic, to department stores, general merchandise stores, and internet and direct marketing, among others.

The roughly $635 million fund has gained 42% year-to-date.

The top sectors it focuses on are internet and direct marketing at 21.5%, followed by automotive and retail at 18% each.

Holdings include Hibbett Sports, Wayfair, Best Buy, eBay, Murphy USA, Revolve Group, Magnite, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Albertsons companies, and Target, all weighing a little over 1% each.

As the economy rebounds from pandemic lows, the retail sector is making a strong comeback, driven by the pent-up consumer demand. Retail sales, according to the National Retail Federation, are expected to grow between 6.5% and 8.2% this year to more than $4.33 trillion in sales.

Many of the retail companies have also invested in enhancing their online presence to catch up on the e-commerce trend that many experts say is here to stay.

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Taco Bell is adding 1,000 drive-thru ‘bellhops’ as chain tweaks traditional and Cantina stores for a post pandemic world

Taco Bell Cantina
A Taco Bell Cantina, which typically is focused on dine-in service, has added a drive-thru.

  • Three Taco Bell stores have been modified into the chain’s new small-format Go Mobile design.
  • The chain says 1,000 ‘bellhops’ with iPads will take orders at drive-thru lanes throughout the US.
  • A Cantina store, originally geared for dine-in, has added a drive-thru lane due to the pandemic.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

More than a year after proposing a plan to roll out dine-in-focused lifestyle stores, Taco Bell is tweaking its store development plans.

The Irvine, California-based fast-food chain said Tuesday that its next 1,000 restaurants will be modernized with features that reflect growing consumer demand for convenient, contactless ordering, a trend accelerated during the pandemic. New format stores will feature order-taking bellhops at the drive-thru and kiosk-only ordering. Modifications are also being made to the chain’s dine-in-focused Cantina concept.

Some of these changes were introduced last summer when Taco Bell introduced its new “Go Mobile” restaurant format with dual drive-thru lanes. One lane would be dedicated to traditional drive-thru orders, while the other would be designed for the pickup of mobile orders – similar to Chipotle Mexican Grill’s Chipotlanes.

On Tuesday, the chain said those plans are starting to gel.

Three stores in Texas and Oklahoma have been modified to adopt the Go Mobile format, while a Taco Bell Cantina in Northern California has added a drive-thru lane. The latter represents a significant about-face for the Cantina concept, originally developed to accommodate dine-in traffic in densely populated urban cities like Chicago, Las Vegas, London, and New York.

Read more: How Taco Bell, Burger King, and Chipotle are pushing diners away from DoorDash and Uber Eats and reclaiming customer data

But, the Yum Brands division said Tuesday that the “prioritization of drive-thru service during the pandemic” triggered the adoption of a drive-thru at the Cantina concept in Danville, California. The experiential concept still features dine-in elements such as an outdoor fire pit, a game area, and a full bar which will serve diners when it is safe to do so, the chain said.

Mike Grams, Taco Bell’s global chief operating officer, said the chain’s restaurant portfolio is rapidly evolving as it strikes “a crucial balance between being technology-forward and social-oriented.”

“Even amid the challenging pandemic, we are continuing to grow due in large part to the strength in our franchise partnerships as well as the flexible formats we offer,” Grams said in a statement.

The chain said it will continue to build destination Cantina restaurants, but at the same time, it will prioritize growing restaurants that “maximize efficiency for on-the-go customers” like the Go Mobile restaurants.

Before the pandemic, 3% of Taco Bell sales came from digital orders. Now, that number has surged to about 20%. That’s forced the chain to rethink store designs.

Taco Bell Go Mobile
Three Taco Bells in Oklahoma and Texas have added dual drive-thru lanes as part of the new Go Mobile format.

The chain, which has about 7,400 locations, plans to remodel or build an additional 30 stores into the Go Mobile model by the end of the year. New stores will have smaller dining rooms and be about 1,325 square feet. That’s more than 1,000-square feet smaller than a standard Taco Bell restaurant.

Read more: Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol on fight for profits between the chain and delivery operators like DoorDash: ‘Our margins are just as important as their margins.’

A key feature of the Go Mobile concept, order-taking bellhops at the drive-thru, will also be extended to traditional stores to help improve drive-thru wait times, the chain said.

Consumers will start to see about 1,000 of these “concierge service of team members” taking orders with iPads at restaurants across the US by the summer. Chick-fil-A and In-N-Out Burger also station employees at the drive-thru to take orders with tablets.

Taco Bell said it is also opening a “kiosk-focused” restaurant in Manhattan that is designed for a completely digital in-person experience. The chain did not provide further details.

Also coming soon is a new format store by Taco Bell franchisee Lee Engler, CEO of Border Foods. He plans to unveil “an industry-defying restaurant” in the coming months, Taco Bell said.

Taco Bell and Engler did not provide any further details, only stating that the new concept is expected to address the bottleneck at drive-thru windows.

“As great as the drive-thru is, a fundamental flaw is bottleneck at the windows,” Engler said in a statement. “Our team has set out to creatively solve for that like no one else has done before, and we’re thrilled by positive early responses to our one-of-a-kind concept coming to Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.”

According to Thrillist, city documents reveal that Taco Bell is looking to build an experimental store with a “windowless building design that will cater only to takeout orders” from four drive-thru lanes fulfilling orders from two separate kitchens.

Data shows that Taco Bell’s focus on digital takeout solutions is a smart move.

According to a J.D. Power Pulse Survey conducted in January of 2021, retail and restaurant consumers are still gravitating towards curbside and home delivery even as business restrictions ease across the US. Half of the consumers surveyed said they plan to continue using curbside pickup and home delivery services. And, 21% said they expected “to actually increase their use of these services,” the survey states.

While demand for delivery rose substantially during the pandemic, takeout and drive-thru orders are the busiest channels for fast-food chains. According to recent data by The NPD Group, carryout represented 45.8% of total orders. Drive-thru is 43.5% and delivery is 10.7%.

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Hospitality, sit-down restaurants, and other industries hit hardest by the pandemic are finally hiring again

Pharmacist Madeline Acquilano fills a syringe with the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine before inoculating members of the public at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, on March 3, 2021. - Some 7,400 vials of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 single shot vaccine were delivered and an initial offering of the vaccine was given to ten members of the public. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
A pharmacist at the Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, fills a syringe with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Some of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic have finally started adding back jobs recently.
  • Healthcare, hospitality, and sit-down restaurant jobs are on the rise, according to job site data.
  • But some sectors, like education and government, are still lagging behind.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US added 379,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate dropped from 6.3% to 6.2%, blowing past economists’ forecasts and hinting at the start of a broader economic recovery.

But in early March, unemployment claims jumped to 770,000, also above estimates, as Americans began receiving stimulus checks, showing that the economy still has a long way to go. A recent Insider analysis found that, after accounting for misclassifications and people not actively looking for jobs, the real unemployment rate is closer to 9.1%.

Still, companies across many industries have started significantly increasing hiring with expectations that COVID-19 vaccine rates will keep climbing and case rates will keep dropping.

The pandemic hit industries unevenly – hospitality and travel businesses were devastated, and many of the thousands of small businesses that had to close during the pandemic may never reopen – while e-commerce and food and grocery delivery businesses thrived.

Yet some of the hardest-hit industries are now leading the recovery as they finally start to rehire workers after months of layoffs and furloughs, according to data from job search websites viewed by Insider.

Healthcare, retail, sit-down restaurants, and even hospitality businesses are seeing major job growth, as are pandemic-tested jobs in manufacturing, software development, warehouse and logistics. However, education and public sectors still lag behind, based on Insider’s analysis of government data and insights from five top job posting websites – Flexjobs, Indeed, Joblist, Monster, and Snagajob.

If you’re one of the many Americans still looking for work, here are some of the industries that are hiring at the fastest rates.

Hospitality and leisure

After hospitality jobs dropped by 63% last April, more than any other industry, they’re finally starting to bounce back – and the industry is even leading the US’ recent surge in job growth as lockdown orders begin to ease. Out of the 379,000 jobs added last month, 355,000 came from the hospitality industry, according to the latest job report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As of March 15, hospitality jobs on Snagajob were up 54% from mid-February and 141% from last March. Indeed’s latest jobs report, using data through March 12, found that hospitality jobs were still down 27% from their pre-pandemic baseline of February 1, but had still seen an 8% jump from four weeks ago.

But the hospitality industry’s long-term outlook still depends heavily on whether and when business travel picks up again, with many experts predicting that companies will permanently cut back on travel expenses.

Sit-down restaurants

As more states allow sit-down dining again, restaurants are quickly ramping up to meet customers’ pent-up demand. Of the 355,000 hospitality jobs added in February, the BLS said that 286,000 – around 80% – came from restaurants and bars.

Snagajob found that sit-down restaurants saw a 16% month-over-month spike, even as quick-service restaurants were flat during that same time. Joblist CEO Kevin Harrington said server, bartender, and host jobs have all been growing recently.

Retail

Retail stores added 41,000 jobs last month, according to BLS data, though Indeed found that it’s been a mixed bag in metro areas where many people are working from home.

But Snagajob found that retail jobs are up 62% month-over-month, and, fueled by e-commerce, up 259% since mid-March 2020.

Pharmacies

Despite the global pandemic, healthcare jobs tanked over the past year as people canceled routine checkups, preventative treatments, and elective surgeries, forcing hospitals to cut various jobs.

“More than two million healthcare jobs were lost in April 2020 alone, and only about half of these jobs have returned since,” Harrington said, adding that a recent Joblist survey “found that more than 50% of working Americans reported skipping medical or dental care in the last year.”

But amid the country’s massive vaccination effort, pharmacy jobs are up 10.9% from mid-February and 49.2% from February 1, 2020, while nursing and medical-technician jobs are also on the rise, according to Indeed.

Gig work, on-demand, and freelance jobs

The gig economy, which included a large, growing, and hard-to-measure segment of the US’ blue- and white-collar workforces even before the pandemic, saw a major boost as Americans scrambled to find any source of income.

Snagajob has seen posts for on-demand jobs increase 53% month-over-month and a whopping 470% year-over-year, while Joblist saw a 40% jump in “freelance” jobs last summer.

“This trend has continued in recent months as companies embrace remote freelancers as an alternative to making full-time hires in this uncertain economic climate,” Harrington said. “The supply of skilled remote labor is as high as it has ever been right now, and many companies have now figured out how to conduct business remotely.”

While blue-collar gig jobs may have shifted from moving people to moving food, packages, and other goods, during the pandemic, Harrington said all types of gig work are here to stay.

Major companies like Amazon, Uber, Google, and Facebook already make widespread use of contractors because they’re cheaper, pose less legal risk, and allow companies to grow and shrink their workforces more flexibly. Other industries are increasingly adopting this model.

Warehouse and logistics jobs

The boom in e-commerce during the pandemic sparked a rise in warehouse jobs that has continued even past the holiday season.

Snagajob found a 38% month-over-month jump in warehouse and logistics jobs, and Indeed saw a 7% rise in loading and stocking jobs since mid-February. Longer term, Indeed has seen loading and stocking jobs climb 44.7% since its pre-pandemic baseline, and Joblist saw more than a 100% jump year-over-year in warehouse jobs.

Tech and technical positions

As was the case before the pandemic, there’s once again significant demand for software engineers and project managers, according to Joblist, while Monster has seen a spike in jobs involving computational and math skills.

Remote-friendly business functions

While not industry-specific, job postings for business roles that can be done remotely have soared during the pandemic as companies become more accepting of remote workforces.

Flexjobs said the top 10 career categories that had an increase in remote job openings from March 2020 to December 2020 included: marketing, administrative, HR and recruiting, accounting and finance, graphic design, customer service, writing, mortgage and real estate, internet and e-commerce, and project management.

Construction, government, and education jobs still lagging

Some industries have yet to restart hiring efforts in significant numbers – and some even continue to bleed jobs.

Monster and Joblist have both seen recent declines in construction jobs, partly due to the winter weather and related supply chain issues.

State and local government jobs also declined recently, according to Joblist and BLS data, while Flexjobs also found a lower availability of remote jobs in this sector.

School closures and plummeting college enrollment rates during the pandemic hit schools’ pocketbooks hard, and many have yet to bounce back. Indeed found just a 2.7% increase in teaching jobs since mid-February, down 4.6% since pre-pandemic days.

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Popeyes is bringing its fried chicken to the UK, and it plans to open 350 restaurants over the next 10 years

Popeyes chicken sandwich
Popeyes is a major player in the chicken sandwich wars.

  • Fried-chicken chain Popeyes plans to open its first UK restaurant later this year, it said Tuesday.
  • Popeyes hasn’t decided on its first location, but plans to open 350 UK branches within 10 years.
  • Popeyes, which kickstarted the chicken-sandwich wars, has more than 3,400 restaurants globally.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Popeyes, the fried-chicken chain, said it would open its first UK restaurant by the end of 2021, and that it planned to open hundreds more over the next decade.

The US chain – a major player in the fast-food industry’s chicken sandwich wars – planned to open 350 restaurants across the UK by 2031, it said Tuesday.

David Shear, president international at Popeyes parent company Restaurant Brands International (RBI), told Insider that the company hadn’t yet decided where the first restaurant would be, but that the sites would be spread across both suburban and city-center locations.

Read more: Smashburger president lays out why the brand is looking for prime real estate, not ghost kitchen space

People would be able to order food for delivery through Popeyes’ own app or through other delivery services, Shear said.

Shear said that it’s too early to say whether the new UK restaurants would have food lockers, but Burger King, which has the same parent company, is rolling them out at its sites.

Popeyes chicken
Popeyes is best known for its fried chicken.

The menu at the chain, founded in New Orleans in 1972, is dominated by fried chicken, which Popeyes marinates for 12 hours, and you can buy it in a sandwich or on its own. It also sells other items such as fried shrimp, red beans and rice, and a flounder sandwich.

When asked whether the UK restaurants or menus would differ from those in the US, Shear simply said that Popeyes would “differentiate ourselves just based on product quality … You get what I believe is the best, juiciest, crispiest fried chicken anywhere in the world.”

The UK is set to be Popeyes’ fourth European market, after launching in Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey. The brand already has more than 3,400 restaurants across 29 countries, and is planning a huge expansion in China, where it opened its first restaurant in May.

It’s also opened restaurants in Brazil, and plans to open hundreds of restaurants in Mexico, too.

Popeyes China
Popeyes has restaurants in 29 countries, including China

In October, RBI said it planned to open a Tim Hortons branch in “every major city and town” in the UK by late 2022.

Across its three chains, RBI owns more than 27,000 restaurants around the world, and CEO Jose Cil told investors in August that it planned to grow this to 40,000.

Other US fast-food and fast-casual chains have opened restaurants in the UK, too. Chipotle only has restaurants in London, and Shake Shack has just stuck to major cities, whereas Taco Bell, Five Guys, and Baskin Robbins have a bigger presence.

Popeyes was credited with starting the chicken sandwich wars in 2019, when its sandwich became an instant success following huge social-media buzz. It sold out just two weeks after launch, and the chain sold 250 million of the sandwiches within its first year of launch, Shear told Insider.

“The chicken was incomparably crispy, juicy, and fresh, and all the elements of the sandwich were well balanced,” Irene Jiang wrote at the time in a review for Insider. “Each bite was bursting with flavor.”

Popeyes will be the last of fast-food conglomerate RBI’s three fast-food chains to launch in the UK market, following both Burger King and Tim Hortons.

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Amazon has added 3,700 new sellers a day this year, as independent merchants become an increasingly important part of the retail giant’s growth

amazon warehouse packages
The pandemic has prompted retailers to turn to Amazon.

  • Research firm Finbold has found that Amazon is drawing in new sellers at a rapid rate.
  • In 2021, the online giant attracted 3,700 new merchants a day.
  • As of Sunday, that totalled out to 295,000 new sellers in 2021.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Amazon is raking in new third-party merchants on its site, to the tune of thousands of new sellers a day.

Research firm Finbold found that the online retail giant is adding 3,700 new sellers on a daily basis in 2021. As of Sunday, that totaled out to 295,000 new sellers in 2021, or 155 new merchants every hour. Finbold estimated that Amazon could attract 1.4 million new sellers by the end of 2021. A total of 26% of those new sellers are in the United States, while 10.1% are located in India.

“With the pandemic escalating the shift to e-commerce, most retailers in severely hit areas like the United States have been turning to popular marketplaces like Amazon to reach more customers,” Finbold’s report said. “Interestingly, two new sellers joining per minute explain Amazon’s position in helping third-party sellers crack the new online market.”

Insider previously reported that Amazon poured $30 billion into smaller sellers from 2019 and 2020, including logistics support and even a commercial spotlighting small sellers. In 2020, the company saw a major payoff, as 54% of the company’s net sales of $386 billion that year came from third-party Amazon merchants. Meanwhile, successful Amazon merchants have sold their brands for up to $30 billion, as the COVID-19 pandemic boosted sales.

Amazon’s success with third-party brands gives the company a major edge over the competition. And the retail industry is paying attention.

Amazon did not immediately return requests for comment.

Recently, Walmart announced its intent to open its online marketplace to sellers not based in the US, according to Bloomberg.

Are you an Amazon seller? Insider wants to hear from you. Email confidential tips to acain@businessinsider.com.

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