Boom or bust? How America's 50 largest retailers are faring during COVID-19

Written by:
June 10, 2020

Boom or bust? How America's 50 largest retailers are faring during COVID-19

In March 2020, COVID-19 hit the United States with full force. Most parts of the United States were ordered by government officials to stay home because everyday tasks such as going to work or running errands suddenly put people's lives in danger of contracting the virus.

Business executives worldwide had to assess their business model and react with great care, knowing full well that their ultimate decision would affect hundreds—if not thousands—of people. Some jobs allowed employees the opportunity to work remotely from home. Workers in essential roles such as healthcare professionals, grocery store workers, and retail distribution employees needed to work on-site throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Other businesses experiencing financial struggles had to decide to temporarily furlough their employees, leaving them without a regular paycheck, and sometimes without covered healthcare.

The coronavirus pandemic put each company's core values and beliefs under a microscope. Were retailers unnecessarily keeping employees on-site out of pure greed, or were they genuinely concerned for their employee's safety? Did companies revoke healthcare benefits, or did they grant employees bonuses to pay for their dedication to the company? Were businesses in the financial position to make sizable donations to local food banks and charities in need?

You might recognize this list from a story we ran two years ago. Stacker compiled a list of the 50 biggest retailers in the country, using retail sales data released in 2019 from Kantar, displayed on NRF. Each retailer is ranked by its 2018 retail sales in billions.

A year later, we're curious to see how these businesses are faring in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Is business booming, or have they gone totally bust? Find out in Stacker's list for the 50 largest retailers in America and how they work under pressure.

#50. AutoZone

- 2018 retail sales: $9.46 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 5,552
- U.S. headquarters location: Memphis, TN

AutoZone, deemed an essential business, has responded to COVID-19 with financial emergency benefits for its employees. Workers are allowed paid time off for any reason, even if it's not due to COVID-19. Full-time employees receive an additional 80 hours, while part-time employees receive 40. AutoZone has also adjusted store hours and enforced social distancing within the store, and offers a curbside pickup option for customers.

#49. Southeastern Grocers (BI-LO)

- 2018 retail sales: $9.48 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 654
- U.S. headquarters location: Jacksonville, FL

To help those out of work, Southeastern Grocers hired 5,000 temporary associates, allowing current employees to have flexible work schedules. The company donated $250,000 to Feeding America to provide 2.5 million meals for those in need of food.

#48. O'Reilly Auto Parts

- 2018 retail sales: $9.54 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 5,219
- U.S. headquarters location: Springfield, MO

Since it was highly recommended that the public stay home due to the outbreak of COVID-19, people were driving less and didn't need to purchase replacement auto parts and accessories. Instead of temporary store closures, O'Reilly Auto Parts is responding with heightened cleaning and sanitation of high-traffic areas, thorough hand washing, and curbside pickup for online orders.

#47. Good Neighbor Pharmacy

- 2018 retail sales: $9.58 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 2,962
- U.S. headquarters location: Chesterbrook, PA

In response to COVID-19, each independently-owned Pharmacy Times store tailored their business to the needs of the community. Customers can get their prescriptions via delivery and curbside pickup. Some businesses are offering free meals to the public, while others are donating hand sanitizer to nursing homes, police and fire departments, and EMTs.

#46. Burger King Worldwide

- 2018 retail sales: $9.94 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 7,362
- U.S. headquarters location: Miami, FL

Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, Burger King Worldwide has made sizable donations. To help families who are struggling to feed their children, Burger King Worldwide gave away two free kids' meals with any purchase on the Burger King app, in a limited-time offer. The company showed its support for nurses by donating 250,000 Whopper sandwiches via the American Nurses Foundation.

[Pictured: The Impossible Whopper, only available at Burger King.]

#45. Chick-Fil-A

- 2018 retail sales: $10.00 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 2,102
- U.S. headquarters location: Atlanta, GA

Chick-Fil-A restaurants have plexiglass partitions and hand sanitizer in their stores to ensure the safety of employees and customers. Contactless delivery is available, and in-store signage encourages team members and guests to practice social distancing. As new stores open, Chick-Fil-A will donate to local food banks through their partnership with Feeding America.

#44. Hy-Vee

- 2018 retail sales: $10.15 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 250
- U.S. headquarters location: West Des Moines, IA

Hy-vee is a supermarket chain in the Midwest, specifically Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The employee-owned corporation has prioritized the health and safety of all its employees and customers by mandating mask usage and the implementation of one-way aisles and plexiglass panels at all checkout stands. As an extra layer of precaution, Hy-vee has suspended packing groceries in reusable bags. To help raise money for food banks in their eight-state region, Hy-vee set a goal to raise $1 million.

#43. Subway / Doctor's Associates

- 2018 retail sales: $10.42 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 26,932
- U.S. headquarters location: Milford, CT

Along with other fast-food chains, Subway closed dining area usage but has continued to serve its sub sandwiches via pickup, drive-thru, and delivery options. Hourly cleaning and sanitation of bathrooms and high-touch areas have been implemented to abide by the CDC health guidelines. Subway is donating up to 1.5 million meals via a program where they provide a meal to Feeding America for every Footlong sub ordered via takeout, catering, or delivery.

#42. Health Mart Systems

- 2018 retail sales: $10.62 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 4,953
- U.S. headquarters location: Omaha, NE

On May 12, 2020, Health Mart Systems announced that they would provide COVID-19 testing to select pharmacies in rural and under-served populations. These tests will be free to individuals who have experienced symptoms of the coronavirus. To determine who will be tested, Health Mart is having patients complete a questionnaire about their current symptoms. The portal also allows patients to set an appointment to be tested at a nearby Health Mart Systems location.

#41. Qurate Retail

- 2018 retail sales: $11.34 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: -
- U.S. headquarters location: Englewood, CO

Qurate Retail is an international multi-platform corporation that includes the brands QVC, HSN, Zulily, Ballard Designs, Frontgate, Grandin Road, Ryllace, and Garnet Hill. To relieve team members who are most impacted by COVID-19, Qurate Retail is providing $19 million to offset healthcare costs. They are also providing additional pay to team members who continue to work on-site, while also giving them the option to stay at home if they are uncomfortable working on site. Qurate Retail is donating money to the nonprofits No Kid Hungry and Meals on Wheels.

[Pictured: A QVC Outlet Store in Frazer, PA, one of the brands under Qurate Retail.]

#40. L Brands

- 2018 retail sales: $11.34 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 2,722
- U.S. headquarters location: Columbus, OH

On May 20, L Brands announced the permanent closure of 250 Victoria's Secret stores in the U.S. and Canada and 50 U.S. Bath & Body Works stores. The retailer lost 37% in company sales in the quarter that ended May 2, 2020.

#39. JCPenney

- 2018 retail sales: $11.66 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 864
- U.S. headquarters location: Plano, TX

In the coronavirus pandemic, JCPenney was forced to file for bankruptcy. As a result, the retailer had to permanently close nearly 29% of its stores, which amounts to 242 locations. Even though the brand is financially struggling, JCPenney still donated 100,000 masks and 500,000 shopping bags to the Dallas Independent School District, to help distribute 500,000 meals to students.

#38. Menards

- 2018 retail sales: $11.69 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 310
- U.S. headquarters location: Eau Claire, WI

As an incentive to encourage guests to use their Buy Online & Pick Up at Store Program, Menards doesn't allow guests to shop in stores with children under 16, or any pets except for service dogs. Menards can deliver appliances to anywhere in the United States, but has ceased installation and removal services as long as COVID-19 lasts.

#37. Bed Bath & Beyond

- 2018 retail sales: $12.23 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,481
- U.S. headquarters location: Union, NJ

Bed Bath & Beyond decided to temporarily close their stores starting April 2, 2020, which included furloughing associates from the company. The furlough status put a hold on employees' regular income, but all healthcare costs were covered during the temporary store closures. While the company regularly assessed a possible reopening, stores didn't start to open until May 16, 2020.

#36. Alimentation Couche-Tard

- 2018 retail sales: $12.46 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 6,872
- U.S. headquarters location: Tempe, AZ

Alimentation Couche-Tard is a Canadian multinational operator of convenience stores. The company has 15,000 stores across Canada, the United States, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Japan, China, and Indonesia. Alimentation Couche-Tard donated meals to families in need through Feeding America every time customers bought gas for their vehicles. So far, in their campaign, they have donated 40 million meals.

#35. Gap

- 2018 retail sales: $12.88 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 2,296
- U.S. headquarters location: San Francisco, CA

As a response to COVID-19, the clothing company took action by manufacturing masks. Gap stores now offer washable, reusable, triple-layered, non-medical-grade, cotton face masks with an adjustable nose wire. Masks are being sold in packs of three for 15 dollars. Gap brand is donating 50,000 non-medical masks to the Boys & Girls Club of America and the Boys & Girls Club of Canada.

#34. BJ's Wholesale Club

- 2018 retail sales: $13.01 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 217
- U.S. headquarters location: Westborough, MA

BJ's Wholesale Club is the leading operator of membership warehouse clubs, and has created an Appreciation Hour, which is a designated shopping hour on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for first responders and healthcare workers. Essential workers need not pay for a membership to have access to this benefit. Senior members of BJ's Wholesale Club who are 60 years and older can shop at the store's designated shopping hour from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Saturday.

#33. Ross Stores

- 2018 retail sales: $14.96 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,715
- U.S. headquarters location: Pleasanton, CA

To brace against the brutal happenings of COVID-19, Ross Stores borrowed $500 million from Bank of America to ensure financial flexibility. All Ross locations were forced to close on March 20, causing associates to be furloughed from their roles. Executives have taken 20% to 50% in salary pay cuts.

#32. Nordstrom

- 2018 retail sales: $15.06 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 366
- U.S. headquarters location: Seattle, WA

Nordstrom, the largest employer of tailors in North America, teamed up with Kaas Tailored to respond to the medical mask shortage. Seamstresses in Washington, Oregon, and California made 100,000 masks and distributed them to Providence Health & Services. Other team members are donating blood, helping at-risk populations with tasks like grocery shopping, and volunteering at organizations such as Feeding America and Meals on Wheels.

#31. Rite Aid

- 2018 retail sales: $15.83 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 2,550
- U.S. headquarters location: Camp Hill, PA

Rite Aid offers free COVID-19 testing at their facilities to individuals who are 18 years or older, don't need immediate medical attention, and have access to a testing site in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The screening is not intended for individuals who are experiencing severe symptoms of the coronavirus.

#30. AT&T Wireless

- 2018 retail sales: $16.41 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 2,004
- U.S. headquarters location: Dallas, TX

AT&T Wireless is committing $10 million to a Distance Learning & Family Connections Fund. The fund's mission is to support families and educators dealing with school closures and social distancing. Another $1.2 million has been committed to small businesses, focused on distance learning solutions.

#29. 7-Eleven

- 2018 retail sales: $16.51 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 8,951
- U.S. headquarters location: Dallas, TX

On April 22, 7-Eleven teamed up with Children's Health, the leading pediatric health care system in North Texas, to open the first-ever hospital pop-up store for healthcare workers. The stores allow healthcare workers to have convenient access to essential everyday items, such as grocery and personal care items. A mobile checkout option is available on the 7-Eleven app for contactless pay.

#28. Wakefern / ShopRite

- 2018 retail sales: $16.57 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 352
- U.S. headquarters location: Keasbey, NJ

ShopRite is one of the banner brands under the food corporation Wakefern. All ShopRite stores are instilling safety procedures in response to COVID-19, including face masks, social distancing, and temperature monitoring before each shift.

#27. Ace Hardware

- 2018 retail sales: $17.32 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 4,426
- U.S. headquarters location: Oak Brook, IL

Ace Hardware provides essential services to its customers and remains open to the public. To provide a safe working environment, the company reminds customers and associates to assess their health regularly and stay home if they exhibit symptoms of the coronavirus. The company is implementing frequent hand washing, disinfecting of workspaces, and educating associates on how to identify symptoms and what to do if they contract the virus. Ace Hardware has a built-in model of contributing to charities and supporting local communities, and has continued their efforts through the COVID-19 pandemic by fighting hunger and volunteering their time at local charities.

#26. Starbucks

- 2018 retail sales: $17.41 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 13,172
- U.S. headquarters location: Seattle, WA

Even before COVID-19, Starbucks customers were able to customize orders and pay electronically before entering a brick-and-mortar location, via the company's mobile app. Customers can utilize contactless pickup of their orders at the drive-thru. By May 9, 85% of stores reopened, with a heightened emphasis on cleaning and sanitizing protocols that exceed CDC standards and guidelines. The Starbucks Foundation has donated $3 million to support vulnerable communities affected by the coronavirus around the globe.

#25. Meijer

- 2018 retail sales: $17.69 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 242
- U.S. headquarters location: Grand Rapids, MI

Meijer's program Simply Give focuses on hunger relief. With the anticipation that many families would need access to meals because of COVID-19, the company donated $2.2 million, divided equally between the 400 food pantries that took part in the program in 2019.

#24. Yum! Brands

- 2018 retail sales: $18.63 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 17,504
- U.S. headquarters location: Louisville, KY

Yum! Brands is the parent company to Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, and The Habit Burger Grill. The American fast-food corporation has a foundation that provides financial support and medical relief to employees who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or who are caring for someone who has been diagnosed with the virus. Any money from the fund that hasn't been used will be allocated to frontline workers and individuals facing food insecurity.

[Pictured: Taco Bell restaurant, Northgate shopping center, Revere, Massachusetts USA. Night view.

#23. Kohl's

- 2018 retail sales: $19.17 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,175
- U.S. headquarters location: Menomonee Falls, WI

Kohl's stores were forced to close due to COVID-19. As a result, the store lost more than $500 million in Q1. On March 20, Kohl's temporarily closed 1,100 stores in 49 states, which forced the company to furlough its 85,000 employees. On May 4, 50% of stores reopened nationwide. Since the reopening, the open stores are only doing 50% to 60% of the business that they usually do during this time of year.

#22. Verizon Wireless

- 2018 retail sales: $22.26 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 6,839
- U.S. headquarters location: New York, NY

Verizon Wireless activated its Disaster Relief Incentive Program, that will match employee donations to five charities at a two-to-one ratio. The company also has worked with its nonprofit partners to create virtual volunteering opportunities for its employees, so they can safely help communities that are directly impacted by COVID-19.

#21. Dollar Tree

- 2018 retail sales: $22.48 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 15,012
- U.S. headquarters location: Chesapeake, VA

Dollar Tree is investing $100 million in its hourly-paid and distribution center associates to show appreciation for those employees working on the frontline of the pandemic. To keep up with the high demand for affordable and essential products, Dollar Tree is hiring 25,000 associates nationwide.

#20. H.E. Butt Grocery

- 2018 retail sales: $24.02 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 333
- U.S. headquarters location: San Antonio, TX

H-E-B is an American privately-held supermarket chain based in San Antonio, Texas, with over 340 stores throughout the state. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, H-E-B gifted healthcare professionals working on the frontline with 10,000 beauty bags filled with beauty products and grooming essentials; 4,000 plants and floral bouquets; and 80,000 fresh chef-inspired meals.

#19. Macy's

- 2018 retail sales: $24.90 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 867
- U.S. headquarters location: Cincinnati, OH

The retailer was forced to close all stores from March 18 to March 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Memorial Day weekend, the retailer was able to reopen 80 stores. Customers have the option to use their curbside pickup service. The company is fundraising for the charity Meals on Wheels.

#18. Dollar General

- 2018 retail sales: $25.63 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 15,472
- U.S. headquarters location: Goodlettsville, TN

Dollar General committed a $250,000 donation to the Dollar General Employee Assistance Foundation to provide financial assistance to employees in need. They also hired 43,000 new employees to help support current employees in their distribution center, private fleet, and corporate functions. The company invested $25 million in employee bonuses for its associates' work on the front lines. Senior shoppers may shop during the first business hour of the day.

#17. ALDI

- 2018 retail sales: $28.78 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 2,386
- U.S. headquarters location: Batavia, IL

The discount supermarket chain plans to administer social distancing guidelines at all Aldi stores. Starting April 9, shoppers were admitted into the store one at a time to ensure 6-foot separation. A limited number of people are allowed in the store, and shoppers must follow the temporary one-way aisle guidelines. Medical professionals with professional identification to confirm their role are granted immediate access to the store despite lines that form outside the building. All store and warehouse employees have their temperature checked before beginning their shift.

#16. TJX Companies

- 2018 retail sales: $29.59 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 3,092
- U.S. headquarters location: Framingham, MA

On March 19, TJX Companies, which owns TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Home Goods, temporarily closed all their stores, distribution centers, offices, and e-commerce sites for two weeks. Associates who work in stores were paid during these two weeks, but were furloughed starting April 3 for the unforeseeable future. The company began reopening stores on May 2, 2020, and hopes for all stores to open by the end of June.

[Pictured: The interior of a Marshalls store in Fairfax County, Virginia.]

#15. Publix Super Markets

- 2018 retail sales: $36.52 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,444
- U.S. headquarters location: Lakeland, FL

To provide relief for families that can't afford food, Publix donated 1 million pounds of fruits and vegetables and 100,000 gallons of milk to Feeding America member food banks. Publix highly encourages its customers and associates to ensure 6-foot separation viara intercom announcements, signage, floor decals, and one-way shopping aisles. The company has adjusted store hours and only allows a few customers in the store at a time.

#14. McDonald's

- 2018 retail sales: $38.53 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 14,155
- U.S. headquarters location: Oak Brook, IL

To bring a smile to all frontline workers, McDonald's started the Thank You Meal program. From April 22 to May 5, the company donated 10 million (valued at $50 million) Thank You Meals to healthcare workers, police officers, firefighters, and paramedics to show appreciation for their selfless service. The company also donated $3.1 million worth of food to support local communities, 1 million N95 masks to Chicago and the state of Illinois, and $1 million to the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund.

#13. Best Buy

- 2018 retail sales: $39.19 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,024
- U.S. headquarters location: Richfield, MN

Deemed an essential retailer, Best Buy continues to provide technological assistance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With adjusted hours, the company provides services such as contactless curbside pick up and in-home visits, while following CDC guidance. The company also has Geek Squad Remote Support, to institute troubleshooting and technology repair remotely.

#12. Royal Ahold Delhaize USA

- 2018 retail sales: $43.80 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,958
- U.S. headquarters location: Carlisle, PA

Royal Ahold Delhaize USA is one of the world's largest food retailer groups. In response to COVID-19, the company has donated over $22 million to the Red Cross, medical facilities researching the coronavirus, and charities that support local food banks and feed first responders. To provide support for those who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic, the company has hired 40,000 associates. All stores have implemented Plexiglass protection to reduce contact at the register, and flow patterns to ensure social distancing.

#11. Apple Stores / iTunes

- 2018 retail sales: $47.27 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 271
- U.S. headquarters location: Cupertino, CA

Apple partnered with the CDC, The White House Coronavirus Task Force, and FEMA to create a COVID-19 app and website. Both serve as an easy-to-access resources with trusted information to help people protect their health and stay informed on the most up-to-date information on the coronavirus.

[Pictured: An Apple store in Schildergasse, Cologne, which was closed until March 27th during the COVID-19 pandemic.]

#10. Albertsons Companies

- 2018 retail sales: $59.71 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 2,249
- U.S. headquarters location: Boise, ID

As part of their Nourishing Neighbors Community Relief Program, Albertsons Companies has committed $50 million to hunger relief in 34 states. The company has recognized all hourly team members and their efforts to work on the frontline with a temporary $2 per hour pay increase.

#9. Lowe's Companies

- 2018 retail sales: $64.09 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,723
- U.S. headquarters location: Mooresville, NC

Lowe's Companies has donated $340 million to support its associates and communities in response to COVID-19. The company hired 100,000 frontline store associates for spring. All hourly associates will temporarily receive increased wages of $2 per hour and 14 days of emergency paid leave for any reason, even if the emergency is not related to the coronavirus.

#8. Target

- 2018 retail sales: $74.48 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,844
- U.S. headquarters location: Minneapolis, MN

Target is instilling a $10 million relief effort. $5 million is allotted for state and local community foundations that primarily support under-served and under-resourced communities. $3 million goes to support the national nonprofits Center for Disaster Philanthropy and Feeding America. $1 million has been donated in global response efforts, including Project ECHO, UNICEF, and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Another $1 million has been allotted for Target's Team Member Giving Fund, to assist team members who have faced unexpected financial hardships due to the coronavirus crisis.

#7. CVS Health Corporation

- 2018 retail sales: $83.79 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 9,954
- U.S. headquarters location: Woonsocket, RI

CVS Healthcare donated $2 million for healthcare professionals to have access to personal protective equipment, and $40 million in product to community organizations around the country. Because the African American community has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, CVS Pharmacy launched a multi-faceted public awareness campaign so that individuals from the high-risk community can access the education and care they need.

#6. The Home Depot

- 2018 retail sales: $97.27 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 1,969
- U.S. headquarters location: Atlanta, GA

To ensure a safe and clean shopping environment, The Home Depot adjusted store hours to sanitize and restock shelves, and a limited number of customers are allowed in the store. All major promotions have been eliminated, to avoid foot traffic in the stores. The Home Depot has expanded benefits to their employees. Full-time employees are given 80 hours of bonus paid time off, and part-time employees are given 40 hours of bonus paid time off. Full-time employees 65 years and older who are at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus have been given 240 hours of bonus paid time off, and part-time employees in the same age range have 120 hours of bonus paid time off.

#5. Walgreens Boots Alliance

- 2018 retail sales: $98.39 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 9,451
- U.S. headquarters location: Deerfield, IL

As of March 13, the global healthcare company is waiving delivery fees for all eligible prescriptions. There will be purchase limits on specific products to improve inventory and ensure better product availability. The company donated $100,000 to support the CDC's emergency response fund. It has also donated 1,500 thermometers to the local healthcare centers in Santa Clara and Alameda counties in California.

#4. Costco

- 2018 retail sales: $101.43 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 523
- U.S. headquarters location: Issaquah, WA

Costco has implemented Senior Shopping Hours: Individuals 60 years of age or older and those with a disability can shop with fewer people around to ensure a safe shopping experience. Priority access is given to all healthcare workers, and first responders with official identification cards and Costco membership cards may skip to the front of the line at any Costco warehouse. On May 4, Costco deemed it mandatory for all members and guests to wear a mask while shopping, except for children two years and under and individuals with medical conditions who cannot wear a mask.

#3. The Kroger Co.

- 2018 retail sales: $119.70 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 3,035
- U.S. headquarters location: Cincinnati, OH

The Kroger Co. opened drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites for employees and frontline workers, prioritizing those who have symptoms of the coronavirus. To keep up with the demand for stocking shelves with food and household supplies, the company hired 70,000 new employees. As a thank you to all hourly workers dedicated to keeping stores safe and clean for shoppers, Kroger is giving them a pay bonus.


- 2018 retail sales: $120.93 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 490
- U.S. headquarters location: Seattle, WA

As a response to the rising unemployment rate in March 2020, hired 175,000 hourly associates. In May 2020, the company hired 125,000 workers and converted their seasonal employment into full-time positions, which included benefit packages of $15 per hour and access to career training programs. The company has also hosted Amazon Music Livestreams with Katy Perry and John Legend to raise money for COVID-19 relief.

#1. Walmart

- 2018 retail sales: $387.66 billion
- Number of stores in 2018: 5,263
- U.S. headquarters location: Bentonville, AR

As of May 22, Walmart opened 180 COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites in 27 states, and 49,000 people, including first responders, healthcare providers, and individuals experiencing coronavirus symptoms, have been tested at these pop-up locations. Walmart started an emergency leave policy available to all associates who have symptoms of the coronavirus. To show appreciation to all hourly associates working through the coronavirus, Walmart gave all hourly associates a special cash bonus for their work on March 19. A second cash bonus was awarded to hourly associates on May 12.

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