News / Click and collect could save traditional retailers in a multichannel shopping world

first_img Despite the rapid growth of online retailers such as Amazon and ASOS, their lack of physical stores and susceptibility of supply chains could be a key advantage for conventional retailers as they struggle to win back market share, according to former Deutsche Post-DHL board member John Allen.Now on the board of electronic retailer Dixons, grappling with the multichannel retailing challenge, Mr Allen claimed that last-mile delivery was the “Achilles’ heel” of online-only retailers. He said it remained their only route to consumers, while conventional stores were increasingly important in a multichannel environment.In a keynote speech at the EFT 3PL summit in Amsterdam this week, Mr Allen said: “At Dixons, the internet plays a role in some 80% of our sales. Because no two customers complete sales the same way, we have had to develop an online model so they can buy in a variety of ways.”He remains skeptical about the use of delivery drones, although he admitted they could have “some applications” and that some shoppers wanted a speedy delivery.“However, while all this is stuff about delivery is going on, the bricks-and-mortar retailers have an incredibly powerful resource: click and collect.“Shoppers like it; it’s customer-friendly, low-cost for retailers and it gets customers in stores and creates opportunities for further sales,” he said.He added that more than 50% of John Lewis’ online sales were click and collect, with a large number of these collected by customers at its Waitrose stores.“The challenge for 3PLs and parcel companies is whether they can provide an alternative to click and collect,” he said.At the same time, delivery companies have to face up to the challenge of online-only retailers developing their own logistics networks.In its half-year results released this week, Royal Mail said overall that growth in UK parcel deliveries was likely to be limited to just 1-2% for the next two years as a result of Amazon’s decision to set up its own delivery company.“This decision was driven not by cost but by having control over the delivery to the end consumer,” said Mr Allen, who also argued that the story changes for different retail verticals.“In my sector, conventional stores are growing by 2-3% and online by 20%, and this means several challenges for retailers.“First is the need for total visibility of inventory to do a multi-channel, as all the volumes have to be in a single inventory no matter what channel they are sold through. As an example, one particular shoe retailer has its own stores, a concession in Selfridges and sells online, but if there’s strong demand for a particular product in London, they move stock from somewhere it is not selling, say Norwich.“Secondly, we need to move from transaction-based business to a consumer-based business, which means we need to develop a single view of the customer.“And lastly, cross-border movements will intensify the struggle, while at the same time e-commerce is also causing disruption to distribution businesses and wholesalers,” he said.However, he argued the grocery sector was facing even greater challenges due to changing consumer habits.“The mega-superstore has ceased to become relevant – they are too large and they are in the wrong locations – and there is nothing harder to shift than a bricks-and-mortar store. What do you do with it?“As a result, margins are almost certainly going to fall for supermarkets and the returns are going to come down with a bang – the question is, how they are going to respond?”However, that pressure would create opportunities fro logistics providers, he said.“But here’s a cheery prediction: as capex falls and margins are squeezed, there will be more opportunities for 3PLs because I suspect that supermarkets will have to become more selective about what they spend their cash on.”He revealed that Dixons had decided to respond to the price challenge of Amazon, and would shortly deploy an online price calculator in its stores.“Five years ago there was a 20% price difference between our stores and Amazon, unfortunately in Amazon’s favour. Now that is down to just 1%, and we should see people showrooms as an opportunity rather than a threat.”And retailers need to cut costs could be helped by collaboration with competitors, he suggested.“Retailers ideally should collaborate on the last-mile deliveries. But will they? Almost certainly not. There are businesses whose profitability is going to be destroyed over the next few years, and unfortunately that is the worst time to collaborate.“However, collaboration could be imposed upon retailers by regulation, where cities like London create hubs on their outer limits for collections and limit inner-city deliveries, forcing retailers to share transport,” he said. By Gavin van Marle in Amsterdam 21/11/2014last_img read more

TCF Bank Stadium turns to ice

first_imgA second layer of decking was then added to provide a foundation for the rink before the ice sheet is built. TCF Bank Stadium turns to iceThe football arena will host the state’s first outdoor professional hockey game Sunday afternoon.Maddy FoxCrew members work to set up the hockey rink that will be used for the upcoming NHL Stadium Series game between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks inside TCF Bank Stadium on Feb. 21. Emily PolglazeFebruary 17, 2016Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintAfter waiting eight years, 12 stadiums and 13 games, Minnesota will finally get its chance to host an outdoor NHL game on Sunday. The two-day event will mark the first time the football stadium is transformed into a hockey rink since the Gophers’ men’s and women’s teams played there on Jan. 17, 2014. Former Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly skated at TCF Bank Stadium in 2014 and will have a chance this weekend to play outdoors with the Wild, which signed him in July.  Each venue poses its own challenges, but the setup process takes about the same amount of time everywhere, said Executive Vice President of Events for the NHL Don Renzulli, who has worked on every Stadium Series game so far. “There’s a lot of pressure, but you have to have fun with the guys,” said Dan Craig, senior director of facilities operations for the NHL, which handles all aspects of construction and setup for the Stadium Series instead of the University’s regular crew. “Just like a hockey team, we create a team of our guys.” The rink’s framework and boards started to go up late last week, but flooding the rink is a slower process.  To keep the ice at a cool 20 degrees at all times, a refrigerated truck pumps fluid through the decking underneath the rink as warm air travels back to the truck to be cooled and compressed like a standard refrigerator.  The former All-American has played in the team’s last four games after being called up from the AHL. By last Tuesday, the NHL crew had begun work on the stadium, putting down a layer of aluminum decking over the field’s AstroTurf that will be used with the cooling system to balance temperatures. The crew had to battle cold temperatures last week as it built the rink, but an ice system will keep the rink in good shape, as temperatures will likely creep above freezing Sunday. The Minnesota Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks will play at 2:30 p.m. at TCF Bank Stadium, with an alumni game featuring former players from both teams taking place the day before. The finishing touches include hanging banners and painting the ice, which happened early this week. Gophers head coach Don Lucia said he still remembers the wind when his team played outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium in 2014.  “I’m sure the NHL is going to do a great job to get the best ice sheet that they possibly can,” Lucia said. “I think more than anything the ice will be fine. It just depends what kind of day you’re having. The wind plays into it more than anything else.” The NHL will also oversee a free spectator plaza outside Gate A of the stadium with games and live music and the chance for fans to skate on the ice Tuesday night starting at 7 p.m. While temperature rarely poses an issue for the crew, Craig said, wind can. “We take our time. We can really get it done in three days, but we take five,” Craig said. “Because the same people that are building it are here for team skates, the alumni game, rehearsals and the main game. We have to make sure the staff is healthy and ready to go.” “You grow up on the ponds, so in a sense it’s nothing really new or difficult to you,” Reilly said at a press conference for the event in August. “You kind of feel at home playing outdoors.” The arena will then have to return to being a football stadium, but Renzulli said all the hard work will pay off in the end when outdoor professional hockey comes to Minnesota for the first time. “Over the years, I think players like to come out and see 50,000 people. They don’t get that experience all the time,” Renzulli said. “They’ve all remarked about that and have said, ‘This is cool. This is once in a lifetime.’ ”last_img read more

Court rulings depend partly on when the judge last had a snack

first_imgThe Economist:AROUND the world, courthouses are adorned with a statue of a blindfolded woman holding a set of scales and a sword: Justice personified. Her sword stands for the power of the court, her scales for the competing claims of the petitioners. The blindfold (a 15th-century innovation) represents the principle that justice should be blind. The law should be applied without fear or favour, with only cold reason and the facts of the case determining what happens to the accused. Lawyers, though, have long suspected that such lofty ideals are not always achieved in practice, even in well run judicial systems free from political meddling. Justice, say the cynics, is what the judge had for breakfast. Now they have proof..Read the whole story: The Economist More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Separate lawsuit sought in Northeast antitrust case

first_imgNortheast dairy farmers opposing a proposed settlement agreement in a seven-year-old antitrust lawsuit have “opted out” of that agreement and are pursuing their own legal action. Dave NatzkeEditorProgressive DairymanEmail Dave [email protected] The group of more than 125 dairy farmers retained legal representation for a separate lawsuit against Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and its marketing arm, Dairy Marketing Services (DMS), according to Mike Eby, a Pennsylvania dairy farmer.advertisementadvertisementThe original class-action lawsuit (Allen v. Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., No. 5:09-CV-230) was filed in 2009. It alleged Dean Foods, DFA and DMS were involved in anti-competitive milk marketing conduct within Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) 1.Dean Foods agreed to a $30 million settlement in 2011, which was approved.DFA reached a $50 million settlement agreement in late 2014. However, in April 2015, Judge Christina Reiss of the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont rejected that agreement after a majority of dairy farmers testifying at a “fairness hearing” expressed opposition.Without admitting wrongdoing, DFA and DMS negotiated a revised $50 million settlement agreement with plaintiff attorneys and court-appointed farmer representatives early this year. The agreement is preliminary until approved by the court.Read: Northeast antitrust lawsuit settlement agreement revisedadvertisementJudge Reiss set an April 29 deadline to accept comments on the latest agreement and will hold a fairness hearing on May 13. If approved, individual farmer shares depend on the amount of raw Grade A milk produced in and pooled on FMMO Order 1 from Jan. 1, 2002 to Dec. 31, 2014. It is estimated the average payment per farmer would be about $4,000, if 8,000 dairy farmers filed claims.Farmers who opt out of the settlement sacrificed their share of the payment if it is approved, but retain any legal claims to pursue further litigation.According to Eby, both the agreement’s financial payment and requirements steering DFA and DMS marketing practices are inadequate. Instead of being bound to the terms of the settlement in the event it is approved, the farmers opted out by a April 22 deadline and will now pursue a separate lawsuit.“Not only are we seeking greater compensation, but we feel this option gives us the best hope DFA and DMS will be forced to answer to the antitrust allegations in the case and not simply buy their way out,” Eby said. “We hope Judge Reiss will deny the current proposed settlement and proceed to trial, but we are unwilling to stake the future viability of our farms on the hope that the current settlement will not be approved.”Eby is chairman of the National Dairy Producers Organization (NDPO). He emphasized NDPO has not endorsed the separate lawsuit, but the organization’s official position is to work in opposition of the current settlement agreement. A recent NDPO newsletter said the group will charter a bus to help members attend the May 13 fairness hearing in Burlington, Vermont.Eby said farmers already joining the effort have dairy herds ranging in size from 30 to 2,000 cows. He invited other Northeast dairy farmers who officially opted out of the settlement agreement by April 22 to join their legal action with a goal of proceeding to a jury trial. The group is represented by Boston trial attorneys Nystrom, Beckman and Paris LLP.advertisementThe pending agreement and upcoming fairness hearing have generated campaigns on both sides, urging fellow dairy farmers to either accept or reject the settlement.In a letter to Progressive Dairyman, Vermont dairy farmer Alice Allen, one of the original plaintiffs, urged acceptance.Read: Northeast antitrust lawsuit plaintiff urges settlement, by Alice H. AllenIn another letter to Progressive Dairyman, Jacob Ricker, a NDPO member, expressed opposition. Read: Letter: Northeast antitrust lawsuit settlement agreement falls shortNew Jersey dairy farmers Peter and Marilyn Southway of Springhouse Dairy in Fredon, N.J., also urged approval. The Southways, independent dairy producers marketing milk through DMS, were among court-appointed farmer representatives tasked with negotiating a new settlement. They also asked farmers in support of the settlement agreement to attend the fairness hearing.  PDlast_img read more