retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the Washington Post:

"International makeup chain Sephora is implementing sweeping changes in its merchandising, marketing and employee training practices in one of the most public efforts by a major retailer to mitigate the potential for racial profiling and other discriminatory practices at its stores … Among the changes, Sephora is pledging to double its assortment of Black-owned brands, to 16, by the end of the year and create programs to help entrepreneurs of color. It also will enact new customer-greeting protocols so all shoppers are treated consistently, as well as reduce the presence of third-party security guards and police officers in its 500 U.S. stores."

The story says that the initiatives are "the culmination of customer and employee surveys, interviews and academic research that have been underway since 2019. But issues around race and inequality took on new urgency following the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests and the police killing of George Floyd in May, executives said. The chain also has faced backlash from Black shoppers, including the rapper SZA and comedian Leslie Jones, who have spoken publicly about unfair treatment by its employees."

•  From CNBC:

"Starbucks is starting a $100 million fund aimed at investing in community development projects and small businesses in areas populated by Black, Indigenous and people of color.

"The company’s Community Resilience Fund is part of a broader plan to step up its commitment to racial and social equity, particularly in the communities where it operates cafes. In June, as Black Lives Matter protesters took to streets to push for an end to racism and police brutality, the Starbucks Foundation pledged $1 million in neighborhood grants, joining numerous companies that said they would give money to fight against racism. The foundation ultimately ended up giving out an additional $500,000 in grants."