Mike O'Brien

mobrien@accessintel.com / 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.

J.C. Penney Expanding Appliance Sales to 500 Stores

| Mike O'Brien

After a successful pilot in three markets started in January, J.C. Penney plans to expand appliance sales to 500 stores this year, going head to head with Best Buy, Sears, Home Depot and Lowe’s. See what other moves the retail chain is making.

UPS Follows Suit With FedEx, Charges More for Large Parcels

| Mike O'Brien

Following on the heels of FedEx’s move earlier this year, UPS plans to update its fee structure for larger parcels, decreasing the size of items that incur an extra $10.50 handling charge. Under the new rule, packages with a long side of 48″ or more will be subject to the charge as of June 6. The previous threshold was 60″.

Amazon Strikes Deal with Atlas Air, Takes Stake in Company

| Mike O'Brien

Continuing its relentless push into logistics to shore up carrier network capacity issues, Amazon has struck a deal with major air transport firm Atlas Air of Purchase, NY, leasing 20 of its Boeing 767-300 jets and taking up to a 30% stake in the company. Atlas is also a supplier of transport planes to UPS.

Aeropostale Files for Bankruptcy, Closing 113 U.S. Stores

| Mike O'Brien

Amid difficult days for apparel companies, embattled teen retailer Aeropostale as expected has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and plans to close 113 U.S. stores. It joins other recent companies including Sports Authority and Vestis Retail Group, owners of Sports Chalet, Eastern Mountain Sports and Bob’s Stores.

FedEx, TNT Express

FedEx-TNT Merger Clears Final Hurdle With Chinese Approval

| Mike O'Brien

A final hurdle to FedEx’s proposed $4.8 billion acquisition of Dutch carrier TNT Express NV has been cleared via an unconditional approval from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. The deal has already been blessed by authorities in the EU and Brazil, after an initial challenge last fall by the former. The deal will bring FedEx close to parity with UPS in Europe, or possibly launch it into second place behind EU market leader DHL.

Amazon, Amazon Prime Now, Amazon Flex, Uber, Postmates, FedEx, on demand economy, contract drivers, ecommerce fulfillment

Amazon Does the Right Thing, Adding Prime Now to Minority Areas

| Mike O'Brien

Even when bias is completely unintended and based simply on business rules, perception can often be taken for reality. Thus Amazon did the right thing, reacting to protests by expanding free Prime Now service to minority neighborhoods in New York and Boston, and should quickly follow suit in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Washington DC.

Erik Caldwell

Erik Caldwell of Hudson’s Bay Company Talks “All-Channel”

| Mike O'Brien

Erik Caldwell, senior vice president of logistics and supply chain for Hudson’s Bay Company, was featured in Multichannel Merchant’s April 2016 cover story talking about his role there, industry trends and the company’s acquisition of Gilt. In this excerpt from the Q&A, see what Caldwell has to say about the impact of omnichannel or “all-channel” on the retail world.

Guess

Guess Plans Expansion of Louisville Distribution Center

| Mike O'Brien

Guess is expanding by more than 50% its operations in Louisville, KY, with plans to build a second distribution center next to its existing facility there. The company purchased the 32-acre parcel earlier this year for $32, and currently employs 400 at its existing 505,000-square-foot DC.