retail news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• The Wall Street Journal has a story about how United Parcel Service (UPS) plans to address the problem of “lower-margin packages it carries for large shippers like Amazon.”

It is going to cater more to small business, and the health care segment.

“When such customers ship packages,” the Journal writes, “UPS says it earns revenue and profit multiple times higher than large shippers, which make up a big chunk of the company’s delivery volume. That’s because small and midsize businesses may not have the bargaining power in achieving lower rates that large shippers get, while companies shipping medicine and health products have more time-sensitive commitments that cost more.”

The story goes on: “UPS also said it is looking to expand in international markets, as well as participate in the continuing growth of the U.S. e-commerce market, to improve the bottom line. On the latter point, it will focus on improving the revenue per piece it receives across the board and implement higher surcharges on large packages.

“Additionally, UPS is cutting costs and operating more efficiently to help offset the huge investments it is making to transform its network with more capacity to process shipments automatically.”

CNBC reports that Sears yesterday “reported the smallest decline in quarterly same-store sales in more than three years, but its losses widened, as the embattled department store chain continues to trim its fleet of stores and aims to get back to profitability … Sales at Sears and Kmart stores open for at least 12 months were down 3.9 percent during the second quarter, compared with a decline of 11.9 percent in the prior period. The 3.9 percent drop included a same-store sales decline of 3.7 percent at Kmart stores and a 4 percent decline at Sears stores.”

CEO Edward Lambert continues to say that he can make the company great again, but I continue to believe that Sears is a company that is way, way beyond its expiration date.
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