Mike O'Brien

[email protected] / MikeOBmcm

Mike O’Brien has worked in journalism, marketing and public relations for … well, quite a while. At Multichannel Merchant he focuses on the world of direct-to-customer operations and fulfillment, editing MCM’s weekly O+F Advisor newsletter, and programs the annual Ecommerce Operations Summit conference. Previously Mike was a senior account executive for Marx Communications, a boutique public relations firm working with marketing and advertising technology companies. Other past work includes stints as a media relations consultant for a concert promoter, a marketing communications specialist for a pharma software firm, a research analyst covering corporate e-learning and a daily newspaper reporter on every beat imaginable – except sports.

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Roadie Expanding Direct-From-Warehouse Delivery Service

| Mike O'Brien

Roadie, a crowdsourced last-mile delivery platform that is owned by UPS, is expanding availability of an app that allows same-day delivery and pickup of ecommerce orders by Roadie drivers from warehouses to local customers, which was launched a year ago by sports apparel retailer Fanatics. The app enables pre-sortation and staging of local orders in a designated area within a facility.

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Warp Looks to Marry LTL with the Gig Economy

| Mike O'Brien

Less-than-truckload platform provide Warp is looking to “gigify” LTL, much as the last mile space has been for the past several years, by letting shippers choose among various types of delivery providers, enabling faster service than waiting for a combined load with traditional carriers. The service, called gLTL, leverages Warp’s load-matching technology.

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FedEx Q1 Revenue Dips, But Cost Measures Drive Earnings Beat

| Mike O'Brien

FedEx picked up a good bit of the 1 million packages a day that UPS said it lost due to shipper uncertainty in the runup to its July 31 contract deadline with the Teamsters, adding an average of 400,000 daily packages for its Ground and Express units by the end of the first quarter ended Aug. 31, and confident the new accounts will be sticky.

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Stitch Fix Aims for Growth, Post Restructuring

| Mike O'Brien

Stitch Fix, the algorithm-driven, stylist-focused purveyor of subscription apparel, saw revenue drop 21%, a 13% decline in active clients and a 9% dip in revenue per client in 2023. But new CEO Matt Baer, a former Macy’s executive, sees a pivot leading to growth after a painful restructuring. The company is shutting down two of its five fulfillment centers to right-size operations and inventory.

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Amazon Second Prime Day Runs Oct. 10-11

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon Prime Day 2, this time dubbed Big Deal Days, is now set for Oct. 10-11, the company announced, with the fall version now appearing to be a locked-in flash sale event catering to bargain-seeking shoppers who seemingly can’t get enough during the July extravaganza. Target and Walmart, not wanting to be left out, have competing events that coincide or run ahead of Amazon.

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Instacart Valued at $10 Billion in Long-Awaited IPO

| Mike O'Brien

Instacart issued its long-expected initial public offering of stock on Tuesday, priced at $30 a share for a valuation of $10 billion, well below the $39 billion it was valued at after a fundraising round in early 2021, but at an offering price low enough to entice retail investors to join the party. The company has been profitable since Q2 2022 despite falling revenue, thanks to various trimming.

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GXO Logistics Acquires PFSweb for $181 Million

| Mike O'Brien

GXO Logistics, which calls itself the world’s largest pure-play contract logistics provider, is acquiring Irving, TX-based 3PL PFSweb for $181 million in an all-stock deal, the companies said, increasing GXO’s presence in apparel, footwear and health and beauty categories. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter, and GXI paid a 50% premium to the Sept. 13 close.

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Retail Sales Up 0.6% in August, Fifth Straight Month of Gains

| Mike O'Brien

Retail sales, adding in gasoline, restaurants and automotive, rose 0.56% in August vs. an adjusted 0.5% in July, the Commerce Department reported, the fifth consecutive month of modest gains after a period of retreat. Excluding those categories, retail sales rose 0.6% last month, adjusted for seasonal variations, down from 1.47% in July, as rising fuel prices impacted spending in other areas. Compared to August 2022, it was up just 1%.

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Amazon Blows Out End-to-End Supply Chain Offering

| Mike O'Brien

At its Accelerate seller conference in Seattle, Amazon announced a raft of interconnected services Tuesday, branded as Supply Chain by Amazon. It handles everything from logistics and forwarding from point of origin all the way to the customer’s door. For the first time, Amazon offers bulk storage, distribution and replenishment across channels from the same inventory pool, including retail stores.

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A Conversation with REI On Its Approach to Recommerce, Returns

| Mike O'Brien

Outdoor gear retailer REI has been at the forefront of recommerce, creating a successful channel by viewing returns not as a cost center but a revenue driver. It also helps REI achieve its sustainability goals while also spurring growth. Matthew Bergerson, REI’s DVP of returns and circular economy, talks about the company’s views on reverse logistics, circularity, sustainability and its customer ethos.