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TALKING POINTS

TJ Maxx announced furloughs, pay cuts

RETAIL

TJX to furlough thousands of employees

TJX Cos. said its top executives are taking pay cuts as the company furloughs thousands of store and warehouse workers across the country, according to a document filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Framingham-based company closed its US stores and its online businesses on March 19 in reaction to the COVID-19 crisis. TJX committed to pay affected employees through April 11 but is now planning to implement temporary furloughs for the majority of store and warehouse workers in the United States after that point. (A spokesman declined to say how many would be affected.) The workers will continue to get their benefits while on furlough. The base salaries of chief executive Ernie Herrman and executive chairwoman Carol Meyrowitz will be cut by 30 percent from April 12 through July 4, and other executive officers will see their pay cut by 20 percent over that time, while many other senior executives will see unspecified pay cuts. TJX had more than 4,500 stores worldwide as of the end of 2020. It had more than 3,000 in the United States, primarily under the T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods brands. — JON CHESTO

WORKSPACE

WeWork sues SoftBank over scuttled stock deal

WeWork has filed a lawsuit against SoftBank Group Corp., its biggest shareholder, after the Japanese investor scrapped a $3 billion agreement to buy stock from former chief executive Adam Neumann and other shareholders. SoftBank breached contractual obligations and fiduciary duty by failing to complete the deal, WeWork said in a statement on Tuesday. SoftBank had agreed to buy the shares from Neumann, Benchmark Capital, and others as part of a bailout package last year, but it notified stockholders in mid-March that conditions for the deal hadn’t been met. On Thursday, after the deal’s deadline passed, SoftBank confirmed it would end the offer, citing five conditions that were not satisfied by the closing date. — Bloomberg News

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AUTOMOTIVE

Honda and Nissan to furlough workers at idled plants

Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. will temporarily stop paying workers laid off from their idled US plants as the coronavirus stifles demand for cars and trucks. The two Japanese companies on Tuesday joined unionized Detroit peers in urging furloughed workers to apply for unemployment benefits from state governments. After shutting down their non-union manufacturing operations last month, Honda initially continued to pay workers their full wages while Nissan provided about 80 percent. It isn’t clear how much of a cut from their regular pay Honda and Nissan workers will see. Unionized employees of General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV receive state unemployment and supplemental benefits that make up about 75 percent of their pay, based on collective-bargaining agreements. Furloughed workers at all 10 of Honda’s US factories won’t receive wages from April 13 to May 1, making them eligible to get unemployment benefits from local authorities, said Teruhiko Tatebe, a Honda spokesman. — Bloomberg News

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RETAIL

Amid pandemic meltdown, Macy’s loses its CFO

Macy’s Inc., in the middle of navigating a broad US shutdown of nonessential businesses, said chief financial officer Paula Price is leaving her role. Price, who has been in the position for less than two years, “has made the decision to leave the company as of May 31,” the department store operator said in a statement. She will remain an adviser through November, and the company is searching for her replacement. Her departure comes amid a massive retail shutdown, part of unprecedented measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Macy’s has furloughed most of its more than 100,000 workers starting this month in a bid to preserve cash as the closure of all 775 of its physical stores has caused a sharp decline in revenue. — Bloomberg News

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SMALL BUSINESS

Confidence at a record low

Sentiment among US small businesses collapsed in March by the most on record and owners’ outlooks deteriorated swiftly amid the economic disruptions caused by the global health crisis. The National Federation of Independent Business optimism index slumped 8.1 points to 96.4, the group said in a report issued Tuesday, the biggest drop in monthly surveys going back to 1986. The group’s measure of business conditions six months from now declined 17 points, the most since November 2012, to 5. Nine of the 10 components that make up the optimism gauge declined in March. Pessimism reflected the largest-ever decrease in sales expectations. The federation’s uncertainty index increased to a three-year high. —Bloomberg News

Pharmaceuticals

British giants team up with University to improve coronavirus testing

AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline, the UK’s two pharmaceutical giants, will collaborate with the University of Cambridge to develop technology to test more of the country’s residents for the deadly coronavirus. The group will begin working at the university’s Anne McLaren laboratory on developing high-throughput screening, according to a statement. One of the key goals is to find tests using alternatives to chemicals that are now in short supply. Ramping up testing is seen as a critical step in understanding how widespread the virus is, and whether people who have recovered from Covid-19 can resume working without risk of transmitting it. The stealthy virus is able to be spread by people who haven’t yet developed symptoms, or won’t at all. — Bloomberg News

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ARTS AND CRAFTS

Etsy to its crafters: start making masks

Etsy crafts never seemed like essential goods. But on Friday, the same day the White House announced guidelines that Americans should wear masks outside of the home, Etsy Inc. sent a push notification to every craftsperson on its website in the United States: ‘‘Calling all sellers,’’ it said. ‘‘Start making face masks.’’ The website is becoming a go-to destination for homemade cloth masks. Etsy said there was an average of one mask-related search on the site every two seconds in March. Last week, more than 10,000 sellers sold at least one mask apiece. Unlike the medical-grade equipment now in woefully short supply at US hospitals, cloth masks can be quickly constructed by anyone with a sewing machine and some elastic. That means the skillsets of legions of Etsy crafters are suddenly in very high demand. — Bloomberg News

RETAIL

Pier 1 Imports could be forced to close all but about 100 stores

Pier 1 Imports Inc. is expected to receive a revised purchase offer in bankruptcy that would keep open fewer than 100 of the company’s 900-plus locations, according to people with knowledge of the developments. The bid, from a company called CSC Generation, comes after the retailer’s bankruptcy court process was paused while stores were shuttered in accordance with coronavirus containment measures. Pier 1 sought court protection in February with plans to shut about half of its stores and said it was in talks with multiple potential buyers. The Fort Worth, Texas-based company had posted multiple quarters of declining sales and losses amid a raft of new competitors such as Wayfair Inc. —Bloomberg News

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