retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that after already having lowered its market cap by more than a billion dollars, Deliveroo Holdings - a food delivery startup in which Amazon holds a minority stake - saw its initial share price drop by almost a third "amid concerns about profitability."

The story says that "a surge in demand for online deliveries fueled by pandemic-induced lockdowns made Deliveroo’s IPO one of the most anticipated in Europe in 2021. However, investors’ expectations have cooled in recent days—with large institutions in the U.K. including Aviva Investors and Standard Life Aberdeen PLC, saying they wouldn’t buy shares—amid growing concerns about the company’s profit outlook.

"Some investors fear the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines could speed a return to physical restaurants, undercutting demand for Deliveroo’s delivery services. Meanwhile, analysts say a recent U.K. court ruling that a group of Uber Technologies Inc. drivers were entitled to a minimum wage and other benefits, could set a precedent for other gig-economy workers, potentially raising Deliveroo’s costs."


•  Modern Materials Handling reports that Asian-American specialty grocer H Mart is partnering with robotics technology company Auto Store "to introduce a fully automated micro-fulfillment center to support H Mart’s online grocery operations in Carlstadt, New Jersey."

According to the story, "AutoStore’s robotics and WMS technologies combine to provide retailers with a complete MFC solution, increasing fulfillment efficiency for a broad range of grocery packaged goods along with fresh and frozen items. AutoStore states its MFC solution is flexible and scalable, and can even be installed at the back of a store. This enables retailers to reduce the average distance between an MFC and their customer, allowing for both in-store pickup and rapid home delivery."