International Retailers Barbarians at the gates
Amazon has found a use for all those empty shopping malls in the US, caused by, erm, Amazon. They’re going to turn them into fulfilment centres, which will enable them to yes, that’s right, kill more malls! Not a joke, or speculation: from 2016 to 2019, Amazon converted around 25 shopping malls, and is reportedly in talks with Simon Property Group, the country’s biggest mall owner, to convert bankrupt JCPenney and Sears department stores into Amazon DCs. In news not unrelated, Ocado (Is it a retailer? Is it a robot?) have reported an increase in sales to the tune of a whacking +40% over the past three months to £599 million sterling, with orders ticking inexorably upward at the rate of +2.5% per week. In February it opened its first mini warehouse in Bristol staffed substantially by robots, as it happens, and more are to follow. It is also rolling out a one-hour ‘Ocado Zoom’ service and is looking at rolling out refrigerated electrical and pedal powered vehicles to serve those difficult to reach spots sustainably.
Comment: Truly, we are living in a time of wonders. And warehouses.