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Walmart Concerned About Slipping Grocery Position

| Mike O'Brien

When it comes to the grocery wars, Walmart execs are concerned about the company’s tenuous number one position as well as losing share to fierce competitors, according to brutal self-assessments in a leaked memo and presentation from February obtained by Recode. There are also worries that Instacart is pulling even on e-grocery.

MCM Outlook 2021: Past the Pivots to Ecommerce Operations Efficiency

| Mike O'Brien

Now that the challenges of the lockdown era are behind, and disruptions have solidified into new consumer behaviors and business practices, what’s next for ecommerce operations? In our annual MCM Outlook report, we talk to retail leaders and industry experts to drill down into how companies are faring and what’s working.

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Walmart, Target Stepping Up Last-Mile Fulfillment

| Mike O'Brien

Walmart and Target both announced plans Thursday to improve last-mile fulfillment and delivery from their stores, taking alternate routes via an investment in self-driving car project Cruise, and a new sortation facility powered by acquired technologies from Grand Junction and Deliv, respectively.

Best Buy Pilots Subscription Program

| Mike O'Brien

Best Buy Beta is being piloted at select stores in Iowa, Oklahoma and eastern Pennsylvania, expanding to Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee. Members will get discounts, unlimited Geek Squad tech support, up to two years of protection, free standard shipping and delivery and free installation on most products.

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Target Hits a Q4 Omnichannel Home Run

| Mike O'Brien

Target, one of the clear retail winners in the pandemic era, posted another impressive quarter, with Q4 revenue, earnings and comparable sales outpacing projections and its omnichannel strategy firing on all cylinders as it reported a $9 billion gain in market share based on internal and market research.

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Retail Sales Up 9.2% in January, Hardware Shows Biggest Gain

| Mike O'Brien

Buoyed by the promise of new stimulus spending and the release of pent-up demand, retail posted impressive sales growth of 9.2% in January, excluding auto, gasoline, travel and lodging, according to the latest figures from MasterCard SpendingPulse. Not surprisingly, ecommerce continued to skyrocket, gaining 62% vs. January 2019.

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Walmart Expands Store-Based Grocery Fulfillment Automation

| Mike O'Brien

Walmart is taking another huge leap forward in its attempt to dominate grocery sales, launching an aggressive plan to increase the number of stores using micro fulfillment via automation and robotics to speed orders to local customers as it builds on the digital legacy of the departing Marc Lore. Dozens of such locations are planned.

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Holiday Returns Cost Expected to Double

| Mike O'Brien

After the explosion in holiday ecommerce, comes the flood of holiday returns, expected to cost retailers $1.1 billion, twice what it did in 2020, according to data from Narvar. goTRG and Returnly both said Dec. 26 was the peak day for consumers to initiate returns. UPS traditionally lists Jan. 2 as peak returns day for transit of returns.

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Black Friday Hits a Record $9B Online, Stores Down 30%

| Mike O'Brien

As expected, Black Friday 2020 saw tremendous success online but was a bust in stores, as shopper behavior has been altered irrevocably by the ongoing pandemic. Adobe Analytics reported $9 billion in ecommerce sales on Black Friday, up 21.6% from $7.4 billion in 2019. Store traffic meanwhile was down 48% to 52%.

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U.S. Sellers Outperform During Singles Day 2020

| Mike O'Brien

Boding well for the holiday spend here, the U.S. was the top seller of goods during Alibaba’s Singles Day 2020, which raked in $116 billion combined on Alibaba and JD.com. Alibaba itself reported $75.28 billion yuan in GMV, while JD.com said its Singles Day GMV was $40.72 billion. Sales from U.S. retailers topped $5 billion.