...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

CNBC reports that Kohl’s relationship with Amazon is being consummated this week, as “10 Kohl's stores in the Los Angeles and Chicago markets will both sell Amazon's smart home products and accept the online retailer's returns. The arrangement should help draw more shoppers to Kohl's stores, and make it easier for Amazon's customers to bring back unwanted items.”

The story says that “the kiosks selling Amazon products, such as the Echo or the Kindle, in Kohl's stores will be run entirely by Amazon … But for the returns process, Kohl's own employees will be doing the work. More than 70 additional stores will eventually be able to process Amazon returns, though Kohl's won't say if those launches will come ahead of the holidays.”

Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief merchandising and customer officer who is scheduled to become CEO next May, describes it as “an example of two companies that can leverage each other's strengths … We’re leaning into our store base, which is a competitive advantage for us.”


• eMeals, which has made its leverage of the existing grocery supply chain a talking point in its efforts to differentiate itself in the meal kit business, said yesterday that it has added Amazon Fresh to its list of providers, which means that “subscribers can now send their shopping list, which is automatically generated for all meals selected each week, to either AmazonFresh, Walmart Grocery, Kroger ClickList or Instacart with one click and then schedule home delivery or curbside pickup, depending on local availability.”

The argument is that this approach “provides improved variety, flexibility and affordability to consumers while also creating a sustainable business model without the high operational costs of other traditional kit companies.”

Reuters quotes a new forecast from business advisory firm FTI Consulting that suggests that “US online retail sales will surpass $1 trillion by 2027 compared with $445 billion this year … Online sales will grow at a compound annual rate of 12 percent through 2020 and at a relatively moderate 9 percent over the next decade.

And, “FTI said Amazon’s total share of these online sales is likely to increase to 53 percent by 2027 from 34 percent in 2016. This means Amazon’s share would represent nearly 12 percent of U.S. retail sales by 2027 compared with 4 percent at present.”

Or not. Or more. The year 2027 is a long, long way down the road.