retail news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  The Dallas Morning News reports that Albertsons-owned Tom Thumb "plans to permanently lay off 97 drivers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and shift to third-party delivery services as its online grocery business continues to grow."

The company said "the job cuts are coming around the end of February. Between 10 and 17 employees per store will be laid off at Tom Thumbs in Arlington, Dallas, Coppell, Fort Worth, Garland, Grand Prairie and Plano.  Those stores are hubs for online orders for delivery from and Store employees will continue to shop and pack orders for delivery. Curbside orders are also processed by Tom Thumb and Albertsons employees at stores selected by customers."

There may be short-term savings here, but the long-term impact is that Tom Thumb is outsourcing its reputation and responsibility for an important part of the customer experience.  That's problematic, I think.

•  From the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal:

"Best Buy Co. Inc. is beefing up its delivery options with just a few weeks left in the holiday shopping season.

"The Richfield-based retailer has for years used its stores as de facto warehouses for its e-commerce business; it's one of the ways Best Buy has held its ground against rivals like Inc. Now it's taking the idea one step further, using store employees to make actual deliveries, in addition to the company's current partnerships with Instacart, Shipt and Roadie.

"Best Buy employees in almost all of its stores will deliver online orders directly to customers within their own communities. The orders will be delivered until 10:30 p.m. every day. Shoppers don't need to select this specific option during checkout, just their preferred time of delivery … Best Buy said through a spokesperson that the company is providing vehicles for the employees to complete the deliveries."