business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The Wall Street Journal reports on how "small-business formation is surging in the U.S., and e-commerce company Shopify Inc. has been reaping the gains of that business boom.

"More Americans are opening online stores and selling goods and services to make money as the effects of the pandemic have wiped out jobs and disrupted in-person activities like dining and shopping. The shift has brought a wave of new business to Shopify, which sells subscription services that enable people to put up websites, accept online payments, and ship and track orders to customers.

"But Shopify’s business model carries risks. Analysts expect the surge in e-commerce that drove much of the company’s growth to taper as the pandemic ebbs."

The story goes on to point out that "small businesses are vulnerable during downturns, and they have suffered during this one. Some 30% fewer small businesses were open at the end of the 2020 than at the start of that year, according to data-tracking and software firm Womply. For Shopify, a number of the new businesses using its services may not last long - a risk to the tech company’s growth."


•  The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that Amazon seems poised to open a new grocery store in Ballard, Washington, in a location formerly occupied by a New Seasons store.

According to the story, the format is  a mystery:  The Ballard location "is a 25,000-square-foot store. That is about twice the size of its largest Amazon Go store, which is 10,400 square feet located in Capitol Hill … However, an Amazon Fresh store that opened in Irvine, California, last year was about 40,000 square feet."