News in brief

Ralph Lauren, mall

operator paring staff

NEW YORK — Brookfield Properties, one of the nation’s largest mall operators, is cutting 20% of its workforce in its retail division, as the pandemic has accelerated online shopping and resulted in a string of store closings.

The Chicago-based company, which operates 170 mall properties, has more than 2,000 employees in its retail division, according to the company.

The news came as luxury fashion firm Ralph Lauren Corp. said it was cutting 15% of its workforce by the end of its fiscal year, which ends in March. The cuts come as it accelerates its online operations. The New York-based company estimated that it will incur total pretax charges of about $120 million to $160 million.

Brookfield and Ralph Lauren join a growing list of retailers and mall operators that have cut staffs in recent months as the pandemic forced the temporary closure of nonessential retailers. Last week, department store chain Kohl’s Corp. said it was cutting 15% of its workforce.

This year “has had a profound impact on us all, both personally and professionally,” Jared Chupaila, chief executive of Brookfield Properties’ retail group, wrote in a email to its employees.

— The Associated Press

Walmart drones to

carry virus test kits

Walmart Inc. is adding to its drone delivery trials with a pilot project delivering covid-19 self-collection testing kits to customers’ homes.

Delivery of the kits began Tuesday in North Las Vegas, Nev., and will start in Cheektowaga, N.Y., in early October, the company said in a news release. Walmart is working with private laboratory Quest Diagnostics and drone services provider DroneUp for the trials.

Recipients won’t be charged for either the delivery or the kits, the company said.

Tom Ward, Walmart’s senior vice president of customer product, called the pilot program “an innovative new way to provide additional, and contactless, testing options.”

Walmart began testing drone delivery of groceries and household goods in Fayetteville, N.C., earlier this month. Then on Sept. 14, the retailer said it will start a pilot program in Northwest Arkansas early next year.

— Serenah McKay

Day ends on upbeat

for Arkansas Index

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Monday at 419.78, up 0.59.

“U.S. stocks managed a final-hour rally on Tuesday, led by a jump in Amazon.com and other large tech names, as the market looks for more stability, with seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sector indexes closing higher,” said Chris Harkins, managing director at Raymond James & Associates in Little Rock.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

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