business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

" is jettisoning dozens of its in-house brands as part of a significant reduction of its private-label operation as it works to fend off antitrust scrutiny and shore up profit.

"The Seattle-based company in the past year has decided to eliminate 27 of its 30 clothing brands, such as Lark & Ro, Daily Ritual and Goodthreads, according to people familiar with the matter. Some of the brands remain on Amazon’s site for now as the company sells off remaining inventory, but when completed its house-label clothing division will have just three brands: Amazon Essentials, Amazon Collection and Amazon Aware."

The Journal writes that "after years of trying to build the private-label business, Amazon began scaling it back last year following disappointing sales and criticism from lawmakers and others who said it could conflict with the company’s business selling other brands. The company also cut back on giving its private-label products a boost on search results pages in special placements.

Amazon’s private-label business had 243,000 products across 45 different house brands as of a company disclosure in 2020."

I've been arguing for this for some time.  Amazon's private label program was way too confusing and extensive to bring the company any marketing benefits.  I've always thought it should be clear - using the name "Amazon" - about which items were private label, if only to associate itself with the notion of value and/or quality.

•  Hy-Vee and Uber technologies have announced a new partnership "to offer on-demand and scheduled grocery delivery to customers across the Midwest, strengthening Uber Eats' grocery selection in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin."

According to the announcement, "more than 260 Hy-Vee grocery and liquor storefronts will be available to shop through Uber and Uber Eats. Just in time for the upcoming tailgating season, customers will be able to order their favorite Hy-Vee must-haves, from baked goods to produce and more, delivered on-demand, right to their doorsteps."

•  Amazon said over the weekend that its "employees and their partners can get virtual support from Maven Clinic for everything from preconception to surrogacy, in 50 countries around the world.

"Amazon has extended a program that already provides employees in the U.S. with free family-building support to all employees, including hourly, in 50 countries across, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. The program has been available to employees in the U.S. since 2019 and was expanded to employees in Canada earlier this year. The latest extension means that more than 1 million employees and their partners around the world now have access to family-building benefits."

According to the announcement, "The benefits are offered through Maven Clinic, a company that provides comprehensive family-building support, and all full-time, part-time, and hourly employees- and their partners - are eligible for free virtual access to board-certified OB-GYNs, reproductive endocrinologists (fertility doctors), coaches, and other care providers to support fertility and the family-building journey, including with preconception, egg freezing, intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), adoption, and surrogacy. Maven’s care advocates, who act as guides for employees and work with them through their family-building journey, also provide referrals to high-quality clinics and agencies, and advises on local family-building guidelines."