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.”
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Regal was one of many companies to downsize in 2011, laying off many managers and projectionists to better compete with Netflix and Redbox.
Theaters began reopening throughout the summer according to local regulations, with social distancing measures keeping attendance low.
Regal announced in October it would close all 536 US theaters and 127 UK theaters.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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 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.
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.
“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.
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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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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