Connect with us

Business

Retailers reel in delivery deadlines to get Christmas gifts to shoppers on time

Published

on

October 29, 2021

By Arriana McLymore and Lisa Baertlein

NEW YORK, NY (Reuters) – Shoppers hoping to nab holiday gifts online this year may need to prepare well in advance for their purchases. Numerous retailers are setting earlier deadlines for merchandise ordered online to reach customers’ homes before Christmas.

Frères Branchiaux Candle Press co-founder Celena Gill designated Nov. 30 as the last day for customers to place their orders if they want scented soy candles to arrive before Christmas. “We have already seen a delay in shipping this month and we anticipate that it will be worse as we near Christmas day,” Gill said. She declined to comment on last year’s deadline.

Advertisement

State Bags, a New York-based luggage company, is cutting off Christmas shipping three days earlier than last year’s deadline of Dec. 18. It will not offer its annual two-day holiday shipping promotion this year due to supply chain issues, co-founder Jacqueline Tatelman said.

FedEx and United States Postal Service set ground shipping deadlines for Dec. 15, identical with last year’s delivery cutoffs – even though there is one day more between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. UPS is providing delivery deadline estimates on its website based on timing, location and shipping services.

By some estimates, there may be nearly 5 million more packages per day than delivery drivers can handle during the peak season when unit volumes can double. And, FedEx has already signaled trouble for its ground unit, which handled more than 9.3 million packages a day for customers including Walmart last quarter. In September, the Memphis-based company warned that employee hiring and retention problems were slowing deliveries.

UPS, the world’s biggest parcel delivery firm, is dropping low-profit customers – a move that could hit vulnerable retailers. On the other hand, UPS will make nationwide deliveries on Saturdays this year and is taking several other steps to minimize “chaos costs” and improve on-time service, UPS Chief Executive Carol Tome said.

Retailers typically use delivery cutoff dates as a competitive differentiator, and during normal times, they push them out as far as possible to appeal to last-minute shoppers. But that strategy comes with extra risk this year, particularly for small shops vulnerable to bad customer reviews. And, in a year marked by hurricanes and other severe storms, there’s little wiggle room for other unforeseen disruptions due to factors such as wicked winter weather.

Advertisement

But this year, retailers large and small are encouraging customers to shop early to shift demand and ease supply chain backups. Some U.S. shoppers are panicked that supply chain snarls will spread to home delivery of Christmas gifts, Tome said on a conference call with analysts on Tuesday.

“In fact, some think that 50% of holiday shopping will be completed by Cyber Monday,” said Tome. “Some of our customers are actually pulling forward promotions,” she said, referring to retailers’ earlier Christmas marketing messages that translated into a bump in demand.

For example, UPS began working with Amazon.com, its biggest customer, several months ago. Still, it will again enforce volume limits and not pick up all requested packages if unexpected volume threatens to swamp its system – a move that hit retailers like Gap, Macy’s and Nike last year.

Shopify is encouraging its merchants to update their shipping policy pages to highlight delays and lower expectations. The company is also suggesting that merchants offer earlier Black Friday-Cyber Monday sales and integrate local delivery options and curbside pickup for brick-and-mortar merchants.

Meanwhile, Etsy has improved its estimations of delivery dates to promote sales and reduce uncertainty for its community of homemade or vintage goods sellers. “Nearly every item from a U.S. seller will include an estimated delivery date this holiday season,” Etsy CEO Josh Silverman said in a blog post.

Advertisement

Larger retailers including Walmart, Target, Amazon, Macy’s and Best Buy have not announced their final delivery cutoff dates, but they are promoting options to reduce stress on the system. They’re offering early and extended Black Friday deals and enticing customers to use gig delivery services like DoorDash and Shipt or “buy online, pick up store” options.

Last year, Walmart announced its delivery deadlines in mid-December, while Amazon notified customers at the end of November that eligible products were available for two-day and one-day shipping on Dec. 23 and Christmas Eve.

(This story corrects company name in paragraph 3 to State Bags from State)

(Reporting by Arriana McLymore in New York, Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles. Additional reporting by Jeffery Dastin in Palo Alto, California; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Business

Canada’s Shopify records Black Friday sales up 21%

Published

on

November 27, 2021

(Reuters) – Canadian e-commerce company Shopify Inc recorded worldwide sales of nearly $2.9 billion on Black Friday, an increase of about 21% in comparison to last year, the company said Saturday.

New York, London and Los Angeles were among the top-selling cities, the company said, while apparel and accessories was the top-selling product category.

Shopify also said it funded 23,000+ tonnes of carbon removal to counteract emissions from the delivery of every order placed on its platform on Black Friday.

Advertisement

(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Continue Reading

Business

Xiaomi to open car plant in Beijing with annual output of 300,000 vehicles – Beijing govt

Published

on

November 27, 2021

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp will build a plant that can produce 300,000 vehicles annually in Beijing for its electric vehicle unit, authorities in the capital said on Saturday.

The plant will be constructed in two phases and Xiaomi will also built its auto unit’s headquarters, sales and research offices in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone, the government-backed economic development agency Beijing E-Town said on its official WeChat account.

Beijing E-Town said it anticipated the plant reaching mass production in 2024, a goal announced by Xiaomi’s Chief Executive Lei Jun in October.

Advertisement

In March, Xiaomi said it would commit to investing $10 billion in a new electric car division over 10 years. The company completed the business registration of its EV unit in late August.

The company has been opening thousands of stores to spur domestic sales growth for its smartphone business but eventually intends to use these shops as a channel for its plans to sell electric vehicles.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by William Mallard)

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Business

Eni sells Snam 49.9% stake in Algeria gas pipelines for 385 million euros

Published

on

November 27, 2021

MILAN (Reuters) -Italian energy group Eni has agreed to sell gas group Snam 49.9% of its stake in strategic pipelines carrying Algerian gas into Italy for 385 million euros ($436 million), the two companies said on Saturday.

The pipelines will be jointly controlled by the two companies, they said in a joint statement.

Italy imports more than 90% of its overall gas needs and Algerian gas currently accounts for around 30% of flows.

Advertisement

“This transaction allows us to free up new resources to be used on our energy transition path,” Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi said.

Eni is working on spinning off a series of oil and gas operations into new joint ventures to help reduce debt and fund its shift to low-carbon energy.

Snam, which owns a 20% stake in the TAP pipeline that carries Azeri gas into Italy, makes most of its money from managing Italy’s gas transport grid.

It has pledged to spend more on new green business lines such as hydrogen and, like other gas grid operators in Europe, is upgrading its gas network to be hydrogen ready.

“In the future, North Africa could also become a hub for producing solar energy and green hydrogen,” Snam CEO Marco Alvera said.

Advertisement

The pipeline companies involved in the deal posted net income of around 90 million euros in 2020.

($1 = 0.8836 euros)

(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Giselda Vagnoni)

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending