Foundation donates $10,000 to area schools

The Oklahoma Central Foundation has made a $10,000 donation to five area schools in an effort to help ease the additional costs associated with the fight against COVID-19.

The schools selected were based on financial literacy partnerships with Oklahoma Central Credit Union. Schools that received funding include: Bishop Kelley High School, Booker T. Washington High School, Kendall Whittier Elementary School, St. Pius X School, and Wright Christian Academy.

The Oklahoma Central Foundation helps members of Oklahoma Central Credit Union and members of the community become financially empowered, according to a press release.

“We will continue to listen to community needs, help schools maintain critical operations and support our community,” said Gina Wilson, chair of the Oklahoma Central Foundation and president/CEO of Oklahoma Central Credit Union.

Target’s online sales more than double

Online sales at Target more than doubled as the pandemic put millions in lockdown during the first quarter, revealing further the critical role big box stores played in getting supplies to an immobilized population.

The Minneapolis company reported Wednesday that comparable-store sales, which include online purchases, rose 10.8% for the three-month period that ended May 2.

That was fueled by a 12.5% jump in the number of items customers bought with each trip to the store as families made major restocking runs, but fewer of them.

Target reported an 11.3% increase in revenue, which hit $19.62 billion for the quarter. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected $19.02 billion. Net earnings slid 64% to $284 million, or 56 cents, or 59 cents when adjusted for non-recurring events. That’s far better than the per-share profit of 44 cents that Wall Street was expecting, according to a survey of analysts by FactSet.

Shares were essentially flat Wednesday.

A years-long campaign by Walmart and Target to challenge Amazon.com online was, as it turns out, a dry run for a pandemic.

Target had already transformed its 1,800 stores into distribution hubs, putting it in a better position than even Amazon.com to keep supplies flowing. Its stores were directly involved in supplying goods for 80% of online sales. Same-day services, such as curbside pickup at stores for things ordered online, nearly tripled.

As with other retail companies operating in a pandemic, costs for Target soared as well. It spent an additional $500 million on things directly related to the outbreak. It’s bumped up hourly pay for workers by $2. It has now extended emergency pay for those workers to July 4. Target also spent money to sanitize stores and warehouses, new protections for workers an signage for customers to ensure social distancing.

Lowe’s quarterly online sales increase 80%

Lowe’s Cos.’s move to revamp its outdated online business in recent months paid off in the first quarter, as shoppers shut in because of the pandemic shifted to online services for supplies for their do-it-yourself home projects.

The nation’s second-largest home improvement retailer behind Home Depot said quarterly online sales increased 80%. Lowe’s had planned to offer curbside pickup services next year, but the pandemic accelerated those efforts and it launched the service in three days.

Lowe’s reported fiscal first-quarter profit of $1.34 billion, or $1.76 per share. That compares with $1.05 billion, or $5.90 per share, in 2019. Earnings, adjusted for restructuring costs, were $1.77 per share.

Meanwhile, the company’s comparable sales for the U.S. home improvement business increased 12.3% in the quarter ended May 1. Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s CEO, said that business got a boost also from shoppers using their stimulus checks on major appliances like refrigerators and washing machines.

Overall revenue increased 10% while net profits jumped 28%.

Lowe’s report followed Home Depot, which also saw a surge in spending on cleaning products and home improvement items. But retailers’ costs related to the pandemic are soaring. Lowe’s spent $340 million in virus-related costs in the first quarter, including bonuses and higher temporary pay for workers.

The Mooresville, North Carolina-based chain made two special payments of $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly associates to help with unexpected expenses, totaling approximately $145 million. It also increased pay by $2 per hour for the month of April for front-line associates.

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— From staff and wire reports

Managing Editor

Mike is managing editor of the Tulsa World. He joined the company in 2005 as sports editor. He has lived in Oklahoma almost his whole life. He’s a graduate of Bray-Doyle High School and the University of Oklahoma.