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Fairway and Google tackle same-day delivery

BY CSA STAFF

Same-store sales declined again last year at Fairway Market and the company reported a record loss, but a new same-day delivery initiative with Google Express in Manhattan offers potential for omnichannel growth.

Fairway Market is a supermarket operator largely unknown outside of the greater New York area where it operates 14 upscale stores focused on fresh and natural products. Ten of those locations have been opened since 2009 and in April 2013 the company raised $159 million when it sold nearly 15.7 million shares in a public stock offering. The company reported its first full-year as a public company recently and while the numbers weren’t pretty, Fairway is pursuing an intriguing same-day delivery initiative with Google Express that could allow the retailer to leverage its fixed costs to serve a massive and affluent market that lacks convenient access to the type of food shopping options that suburban shoppers take for granted.

“We are also excited to begin working with Google to provide Fairway with omnichannel capabilities through the Google Express shopping service with same-day delivery service throughout Manhattan,” the company’s interim CEO William Sanford said when results for the fourth quarter and 2014 fiscal year were released.

The company recently began working with Google Express to launch an online shopping platform with same-day delivery throughout Manhattan that provides shoppers with access to 12,000 Fairway SKUs across multiple devices. The integration of Google Express allows Fairway to leverage Google’s technology and distribution network to increase delivery capacity and expand the Fairway footprint, according to Fairway.

"Fairway’s broad offering, which combines fresh, natural and organic products with hard to find specialty items and a full selection of conventional groceries, remains a unique platform in the market,” said Fairway co-president and COO Kevin McDonnell. “Our commitment for delivering quality, selection and value to our customers leaves us well positioned to leverage the growing population of health conscious and value oriented consumers."

Despite favorable industry dynamics, Fairway sales have yet to respond accordingly. During the fourth quarter ended March 30, the company posted a 1.9% same-store sales decline and sales per sq. ft. dipped below $1,000 for the first time in five years. Full year comps declined 0.4%, the fourth consecutive year in which comps declined.

The company reported a fourth quarter net loss of $6.7 million, down from a loss of $8.8 million the prior year. For the full year, the company reported a net loss of $80.3 million compared to a prior year loss of $62.9 million. The losses are part of Fairway’s plan to achieve long-term growth in the New York market. In its annual report Fairway indicated that it expects to incur net losses through its fiscal year ending March 31, 2018.

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United Stationers completes acquisition of online tool retailer

BY CSA STAFF

United Stationers’ wholly owned subsidiary, United Stationers Supply Co., has completed its acquisition of CPO Commerce.

Established in 2004, CPO is a leading online tool retailer. CPO’s fiscal year 2013 sales were $78 million, with a sustained track record of double-digit annual growth. The e-retailer partners with top manufacturers and sells their products through independent brand-focused online stores. CPO online stores carry a full selection of new products and an industry-leading selection of factory-reconditioned products.

United Stationers is a leading supplier of business essentials, with 2013 net sales of $5.1 billion. The company stocks a broad assortment of more than 140,000 items, including technology products, traditional office products, janitorial and breakroom supplies, office furniture, and industrial supplies. The company’s network of 64 distribution centers allows it to deliver these products to approximately 25,000 reseller customers.

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Fast Retailing brand debuts 20-second mobile shopping; buy directly from ads

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Fast Retailing Co.’s Comptoir des Cotonniers division, a French fashion brand, has launched a new service, “Fast Shopping,” which allows European shoppers to purchase items in 20 seconds on their mobile devices via an application from Powa Technologies, London. Shoppers using the PowaTag app can scan items they see on ads in various places to make the purchase and with one click, complete the transaction and have the goods delivered to their home within 48 hours.

“As a leading fashion retailer, this is exactly the kind of innovation that we look for at Comptoir des Cotonniers utilizing technology to better meet the needs of our customers,” said Nancy Pedot, CEO of Comptoir des Cotonniers and Princesse tam.tam, which owned by Fast Retailing, also parent company of Uniqlo. (Pedot, formerly CEO of Gymboree Corp., joined Fast Retailing in 2013.)

Comptoir has placed some 10,000 ad supports for the new service, effectively giving the brand 10,000 virtual storefronts, ranging from promotions on bus shelters to ads in fashion magazines and on café tables. About 30 skus are being offered, with a second series of products to be launched in November.

“We are proud to be partnering with Powa Technologies as we introduce the concept of ‘Fast Shopping’ and redefine what multichannel means for the retail industry,” Pedot said.

Other retailers are also looking into the technology. British brand Laura Ashley will integrate PowaTag codes into its website and then into its catalog, allowing customers to make purchases by scanning product pages, according to Marketing Week.

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