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

• The Wall Street Journal reports that United Parcel Service (UPS) said yesterday that it “would add 5 million square feet of capacity in 2018, five times what it added this year, including new fulfillment and sorting centers, larger planes and rolling out Saturday delivery to more markets. UPS expects its spending on such initiatives to be 8% of its 2017 revenue, more than the 6% to 7% of revenue that it had forecast for the coming years.”

The reason is simple: UPS knows it need to upgrade its offerings and facilities “ to keep up with an e-commerce boom that shows no sign of slowing.”

The delivery company also is raising prices: “UPS said it would increase rates 4.9% starting in late December, and it lowered the threshold for oversize package fees, so that a wider range of items would be subject to an extra surcharge.

“UPS has previously announced plans to tack on extra fees for most packages shipped during the busiest weeks of the holiday season, which it is implementing for the first time this year. UPS expects to spread the load more evenly during the season, aiming to top 30 million packages delivered on 17 of the 21 delivery days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, up from 11 last year.”


• Kings Food Markets and Balducci’s announced yesterday that they have made a deal with Instacart to provide on-demand grocery delivery service to its customers in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and Virginia.

“Online shopping in the grocery space is continuing to flourish and we are thrilled to provide this convenient service to our communities,” said Judy Spires, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Kings Food Markets and Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market, in a prepared statement.

I know I’m playing a song on this that not everybody is dancing to, but I continue to believe that Instacart ought to be, at most, a short term solution to customer demands for grocery delivery. Retailers are handing over responsibility for a critical part of the consumer experience - delivery to the home or office - to a third party, when they ought to be taking ownership of it themselves.