retail news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Costco announced yesterday that it has signed a deal with Instacart that will expand on a two-month pilot in Ontario and bring same-day delivery to 76 warehouse stores across Canada.

The announcement makes the point that "consumers in Canada can now shop from Costco's wide assortment of items including fresh produce, meat and seafood, snacks, deli, frozen goods, baby and pet essentials, and more on the Instacart marketplace with or without a Costco membership. The companies have also launched Costco's new Canadian member-only website – built and powered by Instacart Enterprise – featuring member benefits and access to same-day delivery via Instacart."

I've never seen numbers on this, but I would love to know how many non-Costco members who shop the store via Instacart are then converted to having Costco memberships.  Because I've always had a little trouble understanding why Costco - for which membership fees traditionally have been a strong revenue source - would want to encourage non-members to shop there.


•  The New York Times has a piece about a group of activists in France "that has succeeded in suspending construction at a site that campaigners and a senior local official say is earmarked to become a logistics hub" for Amazon.

From the Times story:

"In France, disparate anti-Amazon forces – including local activists, environmentalists, trade unions and members of parliament - are coming together to battle the world’s largest online retailer. In some instances, they have received funding from some of the world’s wealthiest philanthropists. The aim: to stop the e-commerce giant from expanding its presence arguing the U.S.-based company destroys retail jobs, exploits workers and harms the environment – arguments Amazon rejects.

"Amazon opponents scored a high-profile victory in April when, following a separate legal challenge brought by trade union workers and backed by environmental lobby group Friends of the Earth, a French court ruled the firm was not adequately protecting its employees from COVID-19. Amazon, which disputed the court’s findings, responded by closing its French warehouses and distribution centres for 35 days. The company has since agreed a deal with unions and re-opened the hubs, but the ruling has emboldened the company’s critics elsewhere – including in the United States."