retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• The Motley Fool reports that FedEx “has finally admitted what everyone could see was obvious: is a logistics industry competitor. The global freight carrier's annual 10-K report for the first time said that the capabilities that Amazon has developed over the years - including delivery vehicles, aircraft, and airport hubs for which it is ‘investing significant capital’ - now allows it to be considered a competitor.”

As recently as four months ago, FedEx COO Rajesh Subramaniam said that Amazon "is not a threat to our business ... nor is Amazon a threat to our future growth.”

Elephants in the room can be difficult to ignore. It is about time FedEx admit it publicly.

• The Associated Press reports that Amazon’s six-wheeled, self-driving robots - which are “the size of a smaller cooler” - will start serving customers in Irvine, California, expanding the test from Seattle, where a test of the technology started earlier this year.

Amazon says that “the robots, which are light blue and have the Amazon smile logo stamped on its sides, are able to avoid crashing into trash cans or pedestrians. Still, a worker will accompany the robots at first.”

• Shake Shack announced yesterday that after several years of testing out various delivery schemes - working with Grubhub, Doordash, Caviar and Postmates - it has settled on a nationwide relationship with Grubhub as it looks to provide on-demand delivery services.

According to a CNBC story, the “announcement comes as major restaurant players are seeing key growth from delivery. McDonald’s recently added DoorDash as a partner, ending its exclusivity with UberEats. The burger chain has said delivery will be a $4 billion business globally this year.”

Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti tells CNBC that “the partnership will give Shake Shack access to tools to analyze performance or ordering trends,” and he says that Grubhub “really does a dynamic job on the tech side of measuring time, giving guests and carriers a good marriage of time goals so we have the best shot at lessening the time.”
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