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• The Washington Post reports that mass transit officials in Washington, DC, are "negotiating an agreement with Giant Food to allow the chain’s in-house delivery service, Peapod, to set up distribution areas at the Fort Totten, Glenmont and Van Dorn Street Metro stations.

"The six-month pilot program … could begin as soon as next spring, and if successful would be expanded to more stations. The service would add an amenity for commuters and a potentially lucrative revenue source for the transit agency. If expanded beyond the pilot, Peapod, or another provider, would pay Metro a fee."

Bloomberg reports that Amazon is "seeking to avoid shipping delays that marred last year's holiday season, is taking more control of its delivery system by opening 'sorting centers' around the country" that take over responsibilities assigned to "partners such as United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp., giving greater flexibility over precisely how packages are delivered and more control over costs."

The story says that these sorting centers take packages "that have already been packed and labeled elsewhere," and are then "organized by zip code and stacked six-foot-high on pallets, before getting trucked to nearby post offices for the final leg of deliveries."

• In Minnesota, the Star Tribune reports that Best Buy "has raised the stakes in the online shopping wars by offering an eye-popping holiday promotion: free two-day delivery on thousands of items through its website.

"The deal, which went live over the weekend, is an aggressive move by the Richfield-based electronics retailer to win over holiday shoppers who are especially concerned about shipping speed when making online purchases in the home stretch before Christmas. Best Buy has not yet announced an end date for the holiday delivery offer."

The story continues: "The offer does require a $35 minimum purchase, which is Best Buy’s typical threshold for standard free shipping … Best Buy has not yet announced the date by which online orders must be placed to guarantee delivery by Christmas. Last year, it set Dec. 20 as the cutoff date, earlier than many other retailers.

• There's no question that Amazon has gotten a lot of attention with its drone development program, which hopes to use unmanned aircraft in selected markets to speed up delivery times.

But in New York, the Wall Street Journal reports, Amazon is taking a more earthbound approach, "practicing one-hour deliveries with bike messengers … Amazon has been holding time trials with messengers from at least three courier services to pick the speediest and most careful for the bicycle-based service, which is being referred to as Amazon Prime Now and is operating out of the company’s new Manhattan building, according to a person familiar with the test."
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