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Retail’s ups and downs; bring it on home: The BloomReach Relevance Report

Yet another two-bit version of the BloomReach Relevance Report. Hey, we worked for years on speed reading. Then we figured: Why not just read shorter stuff? Try it. You’ll be glad you did.

Retail is in a huge slump, unless it’s not

Macy's in Philadelphia's center city

So, we’re glad we got that news to you about Hudson’s Bay buying Macy’s because, well, because it’s not. It appears it’s not, anyway. Hudson’s Bay is not buying Macy’s for the same reason we’re not buying a Maserati. It’s too dang expensive. Or so reports the New York Post.

The Post also says that the hedge fund that was pressuring Macy’s to sell is easing off and maybe getting out. Yep, Starboard is going overboard, leaving the ship that is Macy’s, the Post says.

Nuts. We always liked the idea of a little fish swallowing a big fish. Especially now that the thing to say to be a cool kid is: It’s not the big fish eating the little fish; it’s the fast fish eating the slow fish.

Still, keep an eye on this Hudson’s Bay/Macy’s thing. You never know.

No. Really. You never know. We mean, what’s going on in retail? You read about Macy’s woes and the struggles that department stores in general are having. Wet Seal, for instance, just sold itself for $3 million to Gordon Brothers, who aren’t actual brothers, but rather a branding company, Retail Dive reports.

GB plans to reposition and rebrand the teenage clothing seller, which sounds a little like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, except… Except Gordon Brothers has been around forever and is the agency that brought Polaroid back from the brink, RD reports.

So, you know.

You hear about the woes. But then you read in USA Today that Home Depot is hiring 80,000 people and realize, “Jeepers, they could hire everybody in my hometown and still be looking for more.”  So they must be doing all right. Right?

And it turns out HD competitor Lowe’s is also bringing on a ton of people, as is Wal-Mart Stores, USA Today says. Now, some of the home improvement jobs might be seasonal, as spring is a busy season in the DIY world. But big chunks are permanent (at least as permanent as a job can be) and some of the seasonal hires might be reclassified as permanent, USA Today says.

Retail growth can have a ripple effect, too. Walmart, USA Today says, has said it’s creating 10,000 new retail jobs this year. But its building plans are even better news for those looking for work. The gigantic retailer says its construction plans would result in 24,000 construction jobs.

Get it here on the double

AmazonFresh truck

It’s looking pretty good for the idea that pretty soon we will  have no need whatsoever to leave our homes.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Meijer, Kroger and Wal-Mart Stores are all upping their delivery game. Meijer is teaming up with Shipt to offer delivery in the six states where it operates, the WSJ says.

(The Wall Street Journal requires a subscription, but here is a MarketWatch summary.)

Meantime, Supermarket News reports that FreshDirect, another grocery provider that offers delivery service is moving into D.C., which means it will no longer be beyond the Beltway. FD officials are mum on the move, despite the Supermarket News report.

No doubt FreshDirect would rather have the news of their expansion attributed to an unnamed source. That’s how it’s done, after all, in the nation’s capital.

Kroger is going to try out using Uber drivers to get the goods to customers, the publication reported. It said Kroger already uses Shipt in some areas and is big on curbside pickup.

Speaking of curbside, Wal-Mart is going to increase by 100 percent the number of stores where you can pull up, load up and get out, after already having launched a free delivery service.

The curbside stuff is handy for those who do want to get out of the house, but not out of the car. We mean, let’s not go crazy now.

It turns out that grocery delivery is a thing. Amazon, of course, is dominating, according the the Journal. In 2015, 16 percent of consumers said they had ordered groceries online. Last year it was up to 20 percent. More than half of those shoppers said they used Amazon Prime to get their groceries.

But the war is hardly over. The WSJ says online grocery spending will reach $100 billion by 2025. Let’s see who’s best able to deliver.


Quote of the week

“We have one competitor with more than $13 billion a year in the appliance business that’s giving away market share.”J.C. Penney CEO Marvin Ellison to the Dallas Morning News regarding the chain’s move into appliances and so-called hard goods, in an apparent reference to Sears.

Photo of Macy’s Philadelphia by Mike Cassidy. Photo of Amazon Fresh truck by SounderBruce published under a Creative Commons license

Mike Cassidy is BloomReach’s storyteller. Contact him at; follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy.