Retailers honor graduating seniors

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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As graduation nears for high school seniors, retailers are helping them feel special in light of canceled ceremonies.

Walgreens for example grabbed pop singer Bebe Rexha to create a song and video called “Pomp and Circumstance” that incorporates footage of students celebrating at home. The retailer promoted the song on social channels and this blog with Bebe. H-E-B hosted a virtual celebration on its YouTube channel that included a livestream performance from singer Maren Morris and included motivational talks from Texas celebrities such as Chuck Norris and players from the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Astros and Houston Texans. A sweepstakes held in conjunction with the event gave away $100,000 worth of gift cards; high school seniors just needed to post images and videos on Instagram of how they’re graduating and tag: #HEBGraduation and #Sweepstakes to be included.

Kroger teased a “Social Social Graduation Party” for May 30, utilizing its new weekly social campaign that offers consumers at home activities and recipes using its Kroger store brands to download at home, as well as share in a live social hour on Facebook. No details yet on the coming grad party, but likely there will be a kit leveraging its store brand product and a Facebook event to RSVP for over the network.

From May 29 through June 10, Schnuck Markets is creating a commencement ceremony for eight high schools in its home base of St. Louis by keeping audiences in their vehicles and watching a ceremony on large screens while listening to sounds from the ceremony over the radios, like a drive-in. There will be a livestream to watch at home, too. Schnucks is partnering with several local businesses to pull off the feat.

Not a special feature, but Wegmans did award college tuition assistance to 1,842 employees this year, paying out $5 million in tuition assistance to new and returning scholarship recipients for the 2020-2021 school year.

In other retailer COVID-response news, Target announced it would extend its hourly $2 wage increase for its employees until July 4. Kroger will distribute $130 million in “Thank You Pay” or bonuses of $400 to full-time workers and $200 for part time workers.

Amazon also announced it will be investing $4 billion from April through June to COVID-related initiatives such as cleaning measurements it’s taking at the facilities, protective equipment, and higher wages for workers.

See more retailer coronavirus actions in the retailer roundup.