retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that “millions of dollars are being spent to upgrade Amazon's Prime Now fulfillment centers in Seattle as the company tries to cut to shipping speeds and may be planning an expansion of its grocery business.

“Building permits dated May 22 show Amazon is planning renovations to its Prime Now warehouses in North Seattle and at Starbucks' headquarters in Sodo.

“Amazon has had a Prime Now fulfillment center in Starbucks' headquarters building since at least 2016. A document filed with the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections shows the warehouse is nearly 42,000 square feet and has room for 163 employees. The planned renovations include removing existing shelving units in the space, create about 6,400 square feet of walk-in cooler and freezer space and add a ‘transformation room’.”

"We’re always looking for ways to make our operations more efficient and effective to provide ultrafast, same-day delivery for customers with an increased product selection," the company said in a statement.

• The Wall Street Journal reports that while Bed Bath & Beyond tends to blame the likes of Amazon for its diminishing reputation, sales, profits and fortunes, it really only has itself to blame.

“Its leaders built a superstore for housewares, with more than 1,500 locations that had so much merchandise that products hung from the ceiling,” the story says. “But they were ill-equipped, former employees say, to transition to a world where consumers can access thousands of items by tapping a smartphone screen … Bed Bath & Beyond was stuck in the past, relying on coupons to draw shoppers and a ‘pile it high’ mentality for stores that made them cluttered and hard to shop at.”

While the company had a frugal corporate culture that served it well when it came to controlling expenses, that also meant Bed Bath & Beyond was unwilling to make the kind of technology investments necessary to remain relevant.
KC's View: