retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The Boston Globe reports that Grubhub is "pushing back on a potential cap on fees charged to restaurants by third-party delivery companies in Boston, telling city councilors a limit on fees would be an 'overstep' by local officials.

“Any cap on fees, regardless of duration, will result in damaging, unintended consequences for locally-owned businesses as we’ve already seen in other markets and unintended consequences for delivery workers, diners, and a local economy,” says Amy Healy, Grubhub's senior director of public affairs. “In fact, it will result in the exact opposite of what the legislation is trying to accomplish, and we believe that any cap on fees represents an overstep by local officials and will not withstand a legal challenge.”

However, the argument is that the fees imposed by companies like Grubhub - typically between 10 and 30 percent of the price of an order - actually is eroding restaurants' already tenuous ability to remain viable at a time when the pandemic has robbed them of most of their business.

The Globe writes that "Boston, should the council follow through on imposing a limit, would hardly be alone.

"An emergency order passed in San Francisco last month capped fees at 15 percent, while the New York City Council opted to do the same earlier this month.  In April, the mayor of Baltimore asked companies to consider limiting what they charge to 15 percent. Cambridge recently capped fees at 10 percent."

•  The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that "Amazon has leased three warehouse buildings in the South Puget Sound region and is expected to sign a deal for the largest such building on the market, according to commercial real estate industry sources.

"Together the assets total about 2 million square feet, with the deals increasing Amazon's South Sound sorting and distribution capacity to 5.1 million square feet. It was unclear whether this expansion is related to the Covid-19 pandemic, which is fueling huge growth at the company."