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Alina Selyukh

Alina Selyukh is a business correspondent at NPR, where she follows the path of the retail and tech industries, tracking how America's biggest companies are influencing the way we spend our time, money, and energy.

Before joining NPR in October 2015, Selyukh spent five years at Reuters, where she covered tech, telecom and cybersecurity policy, campaign finance during the 2012 election cycle, health care policy and the Food and Drug Administration, and a bit of financial markets and IPOs.

Selyukh began her career in journalism at age 13, freelancing for a local television station and several newspapers in her home town of Samara in Russia. She has since reported for CNN in Moscow, ABC News in Nebraska, and NationalJournal.com in Washington, D.C. At her alma mater, Selyukh also helped in the production of a documentary for NET Television, Nebraska's PBS station.

She received a bachelor's degree in broadcasting, news-editorial and political science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Hero pay. Thank You pay. Service pay. Hazard pay.

These were the many names for temporary pay bumps that some stores, warehouses and factories gave to workers who risked their health to continue to show up on the job during the pandemic.

It's hard to say that an extra $3 an hour made a dramatic difference in Sammy Сonde's budget. Maybe a few more groceries — soup is a dinner favorite — or an occasional treat of a takeout meal after a particularly tiring workday.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Hero pay, thank you pay, service pay - we are talking temporary pay bumps that some retailers and food companies have been giving their workers during the pandemic. Many are going away this month at a time when some workers feel their risks are only increasing. NPR's Alina Selyukh reports.

ALINA SELYUKH, BYLINE: It's hard to say that extra $3 an hour for working in a pandemic made a dramatic difference in Sammy Conde's budget.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Macy's losses during the coronavirus pandemic might mount to $1.1 billion in its first quarter. The company's warning Thursday is the latest highlight of a widening gap in retail between big sales of "essential" stores that remained open during the health crisis versus clothing and other "nonessential stores" that had to close.

The preliminary earnings report from Macy's echoed the pain felt at many other department stores and retail chains revealed in the first wave of financial disclosures since the pandemic began.

Bartolomé Perez has made countless vats of fries and flipped more burgers than he cares to remember in his 30 years of working at a McDonald's in Los Angeles.

In that time, he's joined several strikes to demand higher wages and better benefits for workers. But the stakes felt very different during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are between life and death," Perez says, speaking in Spanish. "You know that every time you go out, it could be your last ... it could be the most expensive hamburger you make in your life."

As Target remained open during the coronavirus pandemic, the surge in demand online and in stores made an average April day comparable to a peak holiday-season Cyber Monday sale.

Pier 1 Imports — one of America's most prominent home-decor chains — is packing it in.

The company, known for its colorful housewares and wicker furniture, declared bankruptcy in February. The coronavirus pandemic forced temporary closures of its approximately 540 stores and dashed its hopes of a recovery.

As the largest retail chain that remained open during the coronavirus pandemic, Walmart became a huge draw for shoppers. Its sales skyrocketed both in stores and online as people stocked up on food and necessities, as well as supplies to work out, teach, play and work from home.

The retailer says it hired a whopping 235,000 new workers during the health crisis to keep up with big demand at stores and warehouses.

NPR is reporting on how the pandemic has upended every inch of our financial lives, from our ability to make money to how we spend it.

Millions of people have had to seek help from the government, whether it's unemployment benefits or business loans. Some have put off major life decisions because of the economic turmoil.

Now, some states are easing stay-at-home restrictions. And we want to know: Are you ready and able to go back to your normal work and social life?

Please fill out the form below. An NPR reporter may reach out to you for a story.

In its 118-year history, J.C. Penney has gone from a Wyoming-based dry-goods store to being a key pillar of the American mall.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Updated on May 17 at 10:55 a.m. ET

Cynthia Murray has worked at a Walmart store in Maryland for nearly 20 years, most of them as a fitting room associate.

Her 64th birthday was fast approaching when the coronavirus pandemic hit and Walmart workers were suddenly "essential." Murray started worrying about her health and wondered whether she should keep working every time she looked at customers who came into the store.

Updated at 9:31 a.m. ET

In a historic collapse, retail spending in the United States nosedived again last month, dropping a record 16.4% as people avoided restaurants, bars, stores and malls during the coronavirus pandemic.

This year got off to a busy start for Daphne and Alex. After almost five years together, they got married. Daphne was training for a new job at a local theater in Colorado. Alex was juggling gigs as a motion-graphics freelancer and a barista.

Copyright 2020 KUNR Public Radio. To see more, visit KUNR Public Radio.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus has become the first department store chain to declare bankruptcy during the coronavirus pandemic. Its fall is foreboding to other chains, whose financial distress predates the health crisis, such as J.C. Penney.

Allie Clancy is technically still a college student. She's a senior at Lasell University in Massachusetts. But she doesn't really feel like she goes to school anymore.

She's graduating in May, but the ceremony is postponed. Maybe until the fall. Maybe until next year.

"You kind of just dream of [graduation] since your freshman year because ...[you see] people take their senior pictures around campus and picking out their dresses and getting to celebrate with their family and friends," Clancy says.

With millions of Americans out of work and its stores temporarily closed, J.Crew is heading for bankruptcy. It could be the first of several retailers to crumble during the coronavirus pandemic under financial troubles that predate the crisis.

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