Foot Locker, Inc. FL is trying to improve its performance through operational and financial initiatives. The company has been investing in digital platforms, improving supply-chain efficiencies and effectively managing inventory. In addition, management’s commitment to develop the Power Store concept to offset mall-related pressure is encouraging. Its strategic deals, including partnership with NIKE NKE to enhance its assortment and drive growth, is likely to keep yielding positive results.

Foot Locker’s digital endeavors comprise improvement of mobile and web platforms, worldwide implementation of new point-of-sale software and expansion of data analytics capabilities. Management also substantially completed the rolling out of the new point-of-sale software. In fact, the company’s digital efforts have been driving quarterly performance. In fiscal second quarter, the digital business was a standout. The business delivered triple-digit growth even after the stores were reopened. This performance was buoyed by a host of factors including strength in product assortment and pent-up demand. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) channel strengthened and increased 173% during the second quarter of fiscal 2020. As a percent of sales, DTC rose to 33.2% of sales, up from 14.3% last year.

Apart from these, the company plans to spend a major portion of the capital on its fleet of stores, including revamping and remodeling of the same. During second-quarter fiscal 2020, the company incurred capital expenditures of $31 million, funding the opening of 18 stores and remodeling or relocating of 26 stores. Management expects investing about $156 million in fiscal 2020. Management has also rolled out new membership program FLX that inspires customers to remain within the Foot Locker portfolio of banners.

Despite these positives, Foot Locker continued to struggle with soft margins for a while. While gross margin contracted 420 basis points (bps) during the second quarter of fiscal 2020, operating margin declined 130 bps. Lower merchandise margin

By Howard Schneider, William Schomberg and Michael Nienaber

WASHINGTON/LONDON/BERLIN (Reuters) – If Round One of the coronavirus relief effort was the economic equivalent of “shock and awe,” new plans being developed by the world’s biggest economies for more assistance to businesses and consumers are taking a narrower and more tactical approach.

Governments around the world went in big, hard and fast in their initial efforts to blunt the economic hit from the global pandemic, drumming up roughly $10 trillion in spending plans through June, according to International Monetary Fund estimates. Central banks levered that up further with rate cuts, bond purchases and a raft of other credit programs.

But with President Donald Trump in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 and a resurgence in cases in Europe and the United States, there is an acknowledgment that the recovery is far from complete. Government and central bank officials are now devising more targeted follow-up programs they hope will help the industries and people still displaced in the global downturn.

With tens of millions remaining unemployed, this second round of government aid will still be counted in the trillions of dollars. Major industries remain under stress from the restrictions imposed last spring to try to halt the coronavirus, and public trust in routine activities like restaurant dining has not been restored.

This time around, officials are betting the virus can be suppressed without reverting to broad lockdowns, ideally allowing a global economic recovery to largely proceed. Their gamble will determine whether the world heads into 2021 poised for recovery and able to take full advantage of any successful vaccine – or climbing from an even deeper hole.

Rising caseloads “put governments in the unenviable position of trying to limit the damage to public health, while avoiding stringent measures to limit economic and

DICK’S Sporting Goods, Inc. DKS has been benefiting from sturdy consolidated same-store sales and robust e-commerce performance. This led to better-than-expected second-quarter fiscal 2020 results, wherein both top and bottom lines improved year over year.

Comps grew 20.7%, driven by higher transactions and a rise in average ticket of 2.8% and 17.9%, respectively. Solid performance in all core categories, including hardlines, apparel and footwear, contributed to comps growth. Further, the healthy consumer demand for the product categories that drove comps growth in the second quarter has continued in the fiscal third quarter. For the first three weeks of the third quarter, the company has recorded comps growth of 11%.

Moreover, DICK’S Sporting has always been focused on boosting omni-channel capabilities through strengthening of store network and expanding e-commerce presence. Amid the pandemic, the company has been displaying strong online momentum driven by higher online demand and improved omni-channel capabilities, including curbside pickup services and BOPIS. Notably, e-commerce sales surged 194% year over year during the fiscal second quarter.

On the store-front, it launched two types of concept stores, namely OVERTIME by DICK’S Sporting Goods and DICK’S Sporting Goods Warehouse. This move is in sync with its plans to expand outlet and clearance stores in a bid to offer popular athletic brands at discounted prices. Also, all its stores have resumed operations from June-end which is likely to contribute to the top line in the near term.

Other retail companies that have been benefiting from strong online show in the past few months are Hibbett Sports HIBB, Gap GPS and American Eagle AEO. Notably, Hibbett’s online sales advanced 212.2% year over year in the fiscal second quarter on the back of a rise in new customers. Also, Gap’s e-commerce channel recorded 95% growth during the fiscal second quarter. Moreover, American

Photo credit: The Washington Post - Getty Images
Photo credit: The Washington Post – Getty Images

From Delish

Giving back year-round is important, but many feel especially called to do so during the holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving. In the spirit of giving, we’ve rounded up some organizations that need your support around the holidays, ways you can find volunteer opportunities in your area, as well as other ways you can give back this Thanksgiving.

Things might be a little different this year due to restrictions from COVID-19. Do a little extra research to make sure individual organization locations are operating normally near you. (Looking for other charities you can donate to? Find some of the best ones here.)

Meals on Wheels.

This established organization brings nutritious meals to seniors who are at risk for hunger year-round, but they ramp up efforts around the holidays. You can find volunteer opportunities near you here.

Volunteer to go grocery shopping.

People in vulnerable populations might need your help to get groceries safely this holiday, especially during COVID-19. You can learn more about the volunteer process here. If you do, make sure you’re being particularly careful in regards to COVID-19 precautions both during and after your shifts.

Volunteer at or donate to a food bank.

Many local food banks see an influx of volunteers around the holidays, which can actually overwhelm them. Be sure to ask, specifically, what they need when you’re inquiring about volunteering. Maybe it’s just some donated supplies. Maybe it’s your time, but at a later date. Or maybe they could really use your time around the holidays. Find a food bank near you here.

Volunteer at a soup kitchen.

Again, soup kitchens might be a bit overwhelmed with volunteers around this time of year, but if they are holding any specific holidays meals, they might have room