retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The Dallas Morning News has an interview with Stephen Butt, president of He-E-B-owned Central Market, which which he says that coming out of the pandemic, "We believe digital shopping will level out somewhere between 10% and 15% of sales. We were well below that at Central Market when the pandemic started. We saw our percentage of weekly online business jump. But we think it will settle back into that range, depending on the store and depending on the community. The prepared food business has been a challenge, much like our restaurants and catering, and we’re hoping that business will rebound."

•  USA Today reports that "Costco is continuing to test curbside pickup at its three New Mexico clubs to determine if the service could roll out to additional locations."

CFO Richard Galanti said that "the pilot's going well. Our members have responded to it and basket size have actually surpassed our expectations.  Our focus, of course, is how can we be more efficient at doing it to determine if this offering can become scalable and make economic sense for us."

The Costco curbside pickup offering comes at a cost - a minimum order of $100 and a pickup fee of $10, though it does offer "dedicated pickup parking spaces."

•  The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon-backed Deliveroo, one of the UK's most prominent food delivery services, "took the first step Monday to list on the London Stock Exchange."

The story says that Deliveroo is expected to be valued at $10 billion, though it is unknown how much the company wants to raise in an IPO.

•  Bloomberg reports that " Inc. has scooped up a minority stake in a cargo airline that operates a portion of its fast-growing air cargo division, the latest sign of the company’s long-term ambitions to expand its air freight operations.

"Amazon spent $131 million to acquire about 13.5 million shares of Air Transport Services Group, the air cargo operator said in a securities filing on Monday, exercising warrants Amazon had previously acquired. Amazon also acquired roughly 865,000 additional shares through an agreement in which no cash changed hands. The purchases are contingent upon approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation, ATSG said.

"Following that approval, Amazon will own about 19.5% of ATSG."