Panic buying continues to cause empty grocery shelves due to the coronavirus panic, with heavier clusters in affected states as grocery retailers are starting to ration supplies. Same-day delivery providers Instacart and Postmates have expanded a “leave it at my door” option as more spooked shoppers opt for no physical contact.
This was a busy M&A week among operations and fulfillment vendors. FOG Software Group acquired shipping software firm ProShip from Quadient; Hy Tek Material Handling acquired Johnson Stevens Consulting; Dematic acquired Digital Applications International Ltd; and Aptean acquired TMS firm Paragon Software Systems.
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Amazon is reportedly using a micro-fulfillment center solution from Dematic at its first grocery store not named Whole Foods outside Los Angeles, sending a loud signal to the rest of the market that an MFC capability is critical to success and maintaining market share in the red-hot e-grocery sector.
Amazon is severing delivery contracts in five states, affecting about 1,300 drivers, eliminating partners it says aren’t meeting delivery standards, according to Bloomberg and other reports. Two years ago, Amazon began a program to help entrepreneurs start up delivery businesses, creating less of a need for the existing contractors.
Ahold Delhaize USA said it plans to close the Midwest division of its Peapod online grocery delivery business to focus on expanding operations in the more lucrative East Coast, where most of its stores are located. Dutch-based Ahold said the Midwest operation of Peapod represented $97 million of the $1.1 billion in online sales in the U.S.
FedEx is diverting some Express deliveries into its less expensive Ground network to drive efficiency and build ecommerce package density after parting ways with Amazon in 2019, according an internal memo obtained by the WSJ. FedEx will redirect residential Express packages to Ground as they get close to their destination.