Two numbers rocked the U.S. retail industry last week when Best Buy and Hobby Lobby announced widespread pay cuts and pay raises, respectively. Other noteworthy numbers came from major retailers that committed to 250 more store openings in 2009.
With no new Chapter 11 filings and minor store closings announced one or two at a time, the numbers from the retail indusry last week contributed to some measure of confidence, no matter how uneasy.
The blogosphere and Twitterspere were buzzing this week with lavish praise for Hobby Lobby’s decision to give a pay raise to approximately 6,900 full-time employees. Their $1.8 billion in revenue made for a pretty good 2008. So, instead of CEO David Green putting $15 million in his pocket and flying the corporate jet to get a $9,200 physical exam in between appointments with his bankers in the Cayman Islands, Green gave back to his employees.
The viral news of the Hobby Lobby pay raises moved through social networks at lightning speed. If the deluge of posts and tweets that I read were any indication, Hobby Lobby just earned itself about $1 jillion worth of goodwill among American consumers. It made me wish I had a hobby just so I could go spend some money in Green’s stores.
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