business news in context, analysis with attitude

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

Fox Business has an interview with Ahold Delhaize CEO Frans Muller in which he says that the company has “partnered with a number of universities and scientists to better understand forecast machine learning and create better algorithms to help customers shop faster and at a lower cost.”

In addition, Muller mentioned the company’s decision (reported here last week) to roll out small, automated warehouses attached to some of its Stop & Shop stores that will allow it to automate order collection, which are being developed in partnership with a tech company called Takeoff (which also is working with Albertsons).

“In addition to robots,” Fox Business writes, “Stop & Shops will also roll out ‘frictionless checkouts’ so customers can use their mobile app to scan items as they’re shopping, without having to wait in line.”

Reuters reports that “the U.S. Postal Service lost almost $4 billion in 2018 even as package deliveries rose.”

The story notes that “USPS reported operating revenue of $70.6 billion for fiscal year 2018, which ended on Sept. 30, as sales at its shipping and packages business rose 10 percent … Package delivery, especially for major customer Amazon, has become a key part of USPS’s business, but has not been enough to offset the sharp decline in first-class letters caused by the internet and email.”

The Reuters story says that the new results could give “US President Donald Trump ammunition against Inc, which he claims pays too little for the agency’s services.

“Trump, without presenting evidence, has accused the world’s largest online retailer repeatedly over the past year of taking advantage of USPS by not paying enough for deliveries to make the service profitable.”

The Trump attacks on Amazon have little to do with USPS results and everything to do with Jeff Bezos’ personal ownership of the Washington Post.

USA Today reports on how Drinkworks, a joint venture between Keurig and Anheuser-Busch, this week debuted its first product - the Drinkworks Home Bar: “Similar to the Keurig Coffee Maker, the Drinkworks Home Bar uses pods to make cocktails, beer and mixers.

“The machine costs $299, with each pod costing $3.99 individually or $15.99 for four. There are currently 24 drinks available – including Mojitos, Long Island Iced Teas and Moscow Mules – with ‘many more to come,’ according to the company.”

And humanity teeters on the verge of losing yet another skill - making a decent drink. That talent now will go the way of tying a bow tie and driving a car with a manual transmission. The end of western civilization, I call it.
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