Whole Foods and Walmart Expand Online Grocery Delivery

The grocery delivery wars are heating up fast. Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) have expanded their same-day efforts

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Kroger and Instacart rolling out Online Grocery Delivery Nationwide

One obvious possibility here is that Kroger is planning to buy Instacart. Such an acquisition is not farfetched; Kroger just sold its convenience stores for $2.1 billion which could finance an Instacart purchase. Target (NYSE: TGT); one of Kroger’s biggest competitors, has bought the shopping service Shipt and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) has plans to offer grocery delivery in 100 cities by the end of 2018.

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Will SuperValu Survive and Should Amazon buy it?

An interesting question here is should Amazon have bought Supervalu instead of Whole Foods? After all, SuperValu is a discounter like Amazon, and it services a general mass market rather than a select upper-class clientele.

SuperValu’s stable of private label grocery brands might have been a better fit for Amazon than Whole Foods’ line up. Grub Street reported that Whole Foods’ suppliers are in revolt against Amazon. That provides an opening for Kroger (NYSE: KR) or Walmart (NYSE: WMT) to poach some of Whole Foods’ suppliers.

An advantage that SuperValu would have brought to Amazon is a lineup of products directed at average middle and working-class customers the bulk of the consumer base. Another is a lot experience in the supermarket and grocery sphere and established stores in large metropolitan markets.

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Walmart wants to bring Grocery Delivery to 40% of Americans

Likely responses to Walmart’s offensive might be Amazon’s acquisition of a traditional grocer like Safeway or Winn-Dixie, or Amazon or Target partnering with traditional grocers such as Publix. Kroger might respond by buying InstaCart and joining Google Shopping Express.

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Will Amazon Go Kill Dollar Stores??

A true nightmare for dollar stores would be caught in the squeeze between Automated Walmart and Amazon Go. Dollar stores are already caught in the increasingly brutal crossfire between Amazon.com and Walmart.com.

The No-Man’s land between Automated Walmart and Amazon Go would be far worse. A true nightmare for dollar stores would be both retailers using their automated stores as neighborhood fulfillment centers for same-day delivery.

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Is Kroger in Trouble?

EG Group has not said if it will continue the Kroger fuel rewards that Kroger convenience stores currently accept. Cutting out the fuel rewards would at the convenience stores would save both companies money.

Eliminating the convenience stores from the program would make it easier for Kroger to shut down the entire rewards points program. A strong possibility is that Kroger will only accept points at its filling stations, or make them just for groceries. Either way, there is a strong possibility that Kroger fuel points might die soon.

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Will Amazon Go Kill Supermarkets, Costco, and Walmart?

An intriguing possibility is that automated stores might be more competitive because they will offer a higher level of customer service. By freeing the cashiers up to help customers, many grocery stores might be able to offer a Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN) level of customer service at Walmart price. That will be the real game changer.

If history is anything to go by, Amazon Go is likely to be superseded by semi-automated stores. Nor is Amazon necessarily the company to take automated stores mainstream.

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The Retail Apocalypse is Alive and Well

Giving Walmart workers an extra $8 or $9 a day might have little or no impact on the economy. Walmart clerks can now afford to buy lunch at In-N-Out Burger; rather than at McDonald’s, how does that benefit the wider economy? Much higher wages will be needed for a real economic stimulus.

It remains to be seen if the $1,000 bonus and wage hike will have any effect on Main Street. Giving average families an extra $1,000 to pay off $1,000 of their credit card debt, might not do much for the economy. The average U.S. household now owes $15,654 in credit-card debt, Nerdwallet estimated.

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Is UPS Making Money?

Currently, I’m leery of both UPS and FedEx because of the danger they are in, in a changing retail market. Threats to these companies abound from both new businesses and new technologies.

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Can Sprouts Farmers Market Survive without Acquisition?

The most obvious buyer for Sprouts would be Kroger, which has been aggressively trying to attract more organic and high-end grocery business.

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