business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding Ahold Delhaize's decision to sell FreshDirect to Getir less than three years after acquiring it, one MNB reader wrote:

I guess Ahold didn't learn the lesson on warehouse to home delivery from their Peapod experience. The Fresh Direct purchase made sense in NYC where Stop&Shop had limited penetration compared to Philadelphia where Giant was making large inroads and had just built a stand alone home delivery warehouse in Philly, so Fresh Direct there was duplicitous. Selling to Getir will be an interesting play as Getir is one of the multiple players in NYC in the quick delivery service still in operation. Reportedly the Turkish based company is unprofitable outside of Turkey. Maybe the third time (owner) is the charm for Fresh Direct. Time will tell. Not sure I would bet on Getir in this inflationary environment.

Interesting how similar language was used in this email about Amazon's stated desire to open more Amazon Fresh stores next year, but making them more traditional and less tech-forward:

Sounds like Amazon Fresh has not learned much in their review of existing Amazon Fresh grocery stores. When they opened in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania they had very strong grand openings and then customer visits dropped off precipitously. The stores were nice, new  and clean and well staffed. The stores were also dark and the staff had little grocery knowledge. For example the stores featured service meat counters where the product was taken out of packages of pre-cut meat. The store associates could not cut or trim displayed product and had no clue as to the type of, choice or Angus being displayed. Grocery product did not represent area served. Duke mayo is a big seller in the southeast but can't compare to Hellman's in the northeast. Prices were middle of the road and the stores' had holes on the shelves 2-3 weeks after opening. Amazon offered nothing compelling and customers voted with their feet. I doubt donuts and coffee will entice customers back if they don't fix the rest of the operation.

Responding to our piece about FTC chair Lina Khan's arguments about Amazon, one MNB reader wrote:

The crux of the FTC argument is that e-commerce is a distinct marketplace, separate and apart from bricks and mortar retail.

Such a view is in conflict with the multichannel, multi-format marketplace on display in the real world.

This results  in a highly distorted and inaccurate calculation of market concentration.

If the FTC is really focused on protecting small vendors and overall consumer value, it would be much more focused on investigating the totally arbitrary and capricious stocking fees and other barriers to market entry that firms like WalMart, Albertson’s, etc. have built to leverage their size.

While these fees, in many cases, are the major source of their profitability, they also add significant cost to the total system…and that ultimately is at the consumer’s expense.

Ms. Khan needs a dose of reality!

In a discussion about a new Code of Conduct being developed for Canada's food industry, I decried retailers' focus for making money on the buy, not the sell.  One MNB reader responded:

I agree with you to a certain extent.  The issue is “on the buy” with the fees that are being charged.  The fees are usually taken out of trade spend dollars which could impact prices or promotions as something will have to give.  I wonder if that is the way they are looking at how prices could go up.  I know one thing, I haven’t seen any retailer lower their fees. 

And, regarding Walmart's decision to have "sensory-friendly hours" in all its US stores, one MNB reader wrote:

This is welcome news for certain, but I wish the hours were either extended or maybe even add a time during the evening.  We all know shopping at Walmart can be a sh*t show. Please give ALL of us a break from the mayhem.