A tale of two pandemics: Big-box stores rake in record profits while small businesses fold

While Wall Street rewards big-box stores for their monster sales volumes during the pandemic — propelling retail stocks such as Target to a record high this week — thousands of the country’s small businesses are still hanging on by a thread.

The widening gap between retail giants and smaller, locally run stores is underscoring the pandemic’s effect of driving a wedge between the haves and have-nots across the industry, as consumers shift to bulk-buying and one-stop shops.

“We’re sharing second quarter results that are, by virtually any measure, exceptional,” Target CEO Brian Cornell told investors on Wednesday.

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