retail news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From TechCrunch:

"Facing unprecedented growth, Instacart has secured new funding to keep up with demand. The San Francisco company announced today that it has raised $225 million in a round led by DST Global and General Catalyst. Existing investor D1 Capital Partners participated in the round, which brings Instacart’s valuation to $13.7 billion.

"Instacart will use the cash to invest in shoppers and partners, build out its advertising and enterprise business, and focus on customer experience, per Apoorva Mehta, founder and CEO of Instacart in a statement. The company will also invest in technical and operational infrastructure to help customers get their groceries on time, with orders up 500% year over year."

Bloomberg points out that "the new value matches the price Amazon.com Inc. paid to acquire Whole Foods in 2017."

I've always said that Instacart's business model is a good one … for Instacart.  But this valuation actually would worry me if I were one of its retail clients, because it gives Instacart even more resources with which to compete with me.  (Have I said this before?)


•  From the Wall Street Journal this morning:

"Zara-owner Inditex said it is permanently closing as many as 1,200 stores - 16% of its global outlets - and will pivot more aggressively toward selling online, as the fast-fashion giant maps out its post-pandemic future.

"As many of the world’s major economies start to reopen, global retailers like Inditex are throwing open the doors to their stores again, hoping demand and foot traffic will return. But for many big players, including department-store chains and fast-fashion retailers, the pandemic only punctuated a yearslong reckoning brought about by a boom in online shopping.

"Inditex, a family-controlled chain that many analysts and investors see as having entered the crisis on a stronger footing, is one of the first big retailers to outline how it sees the industry’s future amid a tentative reopening. The answer: fewer stores and a more concerted push online."

They could have dithered and procrastinated, but would've inevitably ended up in exactly the same place - having to close at least as many stores, but being reactive rather than proactive.  This is what you do - you embrace the future rather than try to delay its march forward.