business news in context, analysis with attitude

In the Washington, DC, market, WTOP reports that "Landover, Maryland-based Giant Food will close home grocery delivery fulfillment centers in Hannover, Maryland, Manassas, Virginia, and Milford, Delaware, though the grocery chain will continue home delivery using a different distribution model.

"The closures impact roughly 400 jobs. Giant said that number could change depending on how many employees apply for and are hired for other jobs within the company.

"The 80,000-square-foot Manassas fulfillment facility opened just three months ago."

WTOP notes that "order fulfillment in physical grocery store locations — either by company employees or third-party delivery workers — is common in the grocery industry, but Giant declined to comment on how home delivery orders will be filled going forward, saying it is working to finalize a fulfillment model that will best serve its customers."

A spokesman tells WTOP that "our mission is to meet the changing needs of our delivery customers who are increasingly looking for faster delivery, more delivery time slows and a broader assortment.  We are adapting our operating structure to better meet these needs and provide this important service for our customers through a localized fulfillment model."

KC's View:

On the one hand, it is important that when companies find a system isn't working, not to waste time and money delaying a change.  Problems, as they say, almost never get better with age.  So good for Giant Food.

That said, over my many years of doing this, I've noticed that that Ahold-owned companies sometimes seem to spend a lot of time vacillating, changing approaches like some folks change socks.

(Years ago, I did an April Fools piece about how Stop & Shop, which seemed to shift from being centralized to decentralized on a regular basis, had decided to move its executive and buying offices to Boise because it really didn't matter whether those folks were local, and office costs were a lot lower out there.  It was taken so seriously - despite the fact that I thought it was a rather obvious joke. - that real estate agents from Boise started calling Stop & Shop to try and lease it space, and Boston-area realtors called the company to see about leasing or selling its Quincy, Massachusetts headquarters.  It got so bad that Stop & Shop's folks called me to ask me to take the story down - but the point was that nobody really doubted the story's veracity.  Which said a lot.)