Retail Pulse: Shipt Teams With Office Depot; Express To Close Brick-and-Mortar Stores

Retail Pulse: Shipt Teams With Office Depot

On-demand delivery services are expanding their offerings beyond takeout from restaurants or groceries from supermarkets to carry additional categories of merchandise. Shipt, in one case, announced a partnership with Office Depot to deliver in over 200 markets, serving more than 60 million households, per an announcement.

Members of Shipt can choose “Office Depot OfficeMax” on and in the app to select items, including the newest technology and business supplies. Additional retail partners offer kitchen goods and everyday essentials. “Businesses, families and schools can now order needed supplies with ease, exemplifying Shipt's mission to simplify lives,” the announcement noted.

“Our vision at Shipt is to deliver the products consumers need so they can spend their time doing what matters most,” said Shipt CEO Kelly Caruso. “With Office Depot, we're now able to serve more people in more ways – from the local business owner, to the schoolteacher, to the work-from-home mom or dad. We're in the midst of an exciting evolution to a multi-vertical, multi-retailer delivery service, and are thrilled to have Office Depot as part of the Shipt family."

According to the announcement, Shipt “is focused on adding new, multi-vertical retail partners throughout the year so members increasingly see Shipt as the simple solution for every need.”

Beyond Shipt, other delivery services are expanding their offerings. Postmates, in one case, teamed with Walgreens for on-demand delivery. Postmates will deliver hundreds of products from 174 Walgreens and Duane Reade locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, per news in October.

In addition to delivery apps, other logistics services are expanding their offerings. FedEx Ground, for instance, has expanded home delivery to include Sundays. Raj Subramaniam, president and chief operating officer at FedEx, said in a statement that “every day is now a delivery day at FedEx. Delivering seven days a week was critical to our success this past peak season, as we experienced some of the highest-volume days in the history of the company, including shipping nearly 38 million packages on Cyber Monday alone.”

From FedEx to Postmates and Shipt, delivery services are growing their offerings to provide more options to consumers who want their purchases delivered to their homes.

In Other Brick-and-Mortar Stores

Express is looking to save approximately $80 million per year over the next three years by shuttering stores. The clothing retailer said it will close 100 locations by 2022, which will involve layoffs, but no specific number was given as of Wednesday (Jan. 22). Its stock rose 18 percent after the news surfaced. While the retailer has a $313 million market value, it saw its shares fall 21 percent over the last year.

The trend among consumers has been to pull back from spending on apparel or to rely on rental companies such as Rent the Runway and Stitch Fix to receive apparel on a temporary basis. Express CEO Tim Baxter, who was appointed in June of last year, said the company has spent the last six months developing a strategy to return the company to stable growth and a mid-single-digit operating margin.

And High Times is opening the doors to its own brick-and-mortar stores this year as it moves into the cannabis retail business. The storied 45-year-old publication advocates for cannabis legalization. Hightimes Holding Corp. announced that it would bring flagship stores to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Each store will offer memorabilia, licensed products and other cannabis items and will operate under High Times’ name and logo.

The company is looking to announce more locations in the weeks to come. CEO Stormy Simon told one outlet, “Now we’re not talking about touching the plant, per se. But the last stages before it reaches a consumer, so delivery, retail and, of course, just continuing to connect consumers to the great cannabis brands that are out there. It is time for us to start participating.”

In other news, luxury fashion retail brands Prada and LVMH are dropping their leases as the retail luster of Hong Kong fades, per brokers cited in a report. Prime retail rents decreased late in 2019 as social unrest impacted commerce and discouraged many mainland China visitors from visiting. Prada S.p.A. and La Perla both intend to leave Russell Street in 2020, and Prada is not expected to renew a lease that ends in the summer.

To keep tabs on the latest retail trends, check next week’s Retail Pulse.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.