retail news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  The New York Times reports that the European Union has launched an investigation into Google's acquisition of fitness tracking company Fitbit for $2.1 billion, with the expressed concern being that Google might used data acquired from all the Fitbits out there to target ads to users.

“By increasing the data advantage of Google in the personalization of the ads it serves via its search engine and displays on other internet pages, it would be more difficult for rivals to match Google’s online advertising services,” the commission conducting the probe said in a statement.

I always find myself mildly conflicted by cases like these.  On the one hand, I dislike the idea that Google could track me and then monetize my behavior if I used a Fitbit.  On the other hand, if I give Google/Fitbit permission to do so, am I not better served by a system that tailors ads to my interests?

•  MediaPost reports that "Kroger is joining forces with YouTube stars The Try Guys for a content partnership to raise awareness for the grocery chain’s online delivery options and to promote Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation … The multiplatform content spans two Try Guys creative concepts. One is an integration into The Try Guys’ 'Date Night' series, while the second is a custom concept created specifically for Kroger. Both encourage the use of ingredients that can be found either at your local Kroger or your own pantry, emphasizing the foundation’s goal of using what’s on hand to eliminate as much waste as possible."

•  CNBC reports that Home Depot "will open three distribution centers in the Atlanta area over the next 18 months" to keep up with consumers' e-commerce demands, "which have only been amplified since the pandemic."

“We like to say that retail has changed more in the past four years than in our 40-year history,” says Stephanie Smith, senior vice president of supply chain. “Covid has even brought this more to light. Customers expect to shop whenever, wherever, however they want.”

•  Eater London reports that the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has approved Amazon's purchase of a 16 percent stake in restaurant delivery platform Deliveroo for the equivalent of $580 million (US).

•  From Bloomberg:

"The world’s largest online retailer Amazon.com Inc. has announced it will launch in Sweden via the website Amazon.se  … The move into the Nordic region’s biggest economy comes at a time when the U.S. retail giant is benefiting from an influx of consumers trying to avoid physical stores during the coronavirus pandemic."