business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  The New York Times this morning has a piece about how "Amazon has spent the pandemic embarking on a warehouse shopping spree in New York, significantly expanding its footprint in the biggest and most lucrative market in the country.

"It has snatched up at least nine new warehouses in the city, including a 1 million-plus square foot behemoth rising in Queens that will be its largest in New York, and today has at least 12 warehouses in the five boroughs. And it has added to its roster more than two dozen warehouses in suburbs surrounding the city."

Remarkably, the story points out, "No other large competitor has a single warehouse in the city and Amazon has largely left most of its chief rivals, like Wal-Mart and Target, behind."

It is not a negligible advantage.  One of the the things the Times story says is that New York only has a total of about 128 million square feet of industrial space, which is not much for a major city.   By way of comparison, Chicago - which has the most of any major US city - has 1.2 billion square feet, or about 10 times as much.

Let's use a football metaphor.  Amazon plays in effect offense to the point that it controls the clock - its time of possession, at least in New York City, dwarfs the opposition.  Which means, if you are a competitor, you'd better figure out a way to compete that neutralizes that advantage.

•  The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon appears to be on the verge of signing a deal with the National Football League that, beginning in 2022, could give its Prime streaming service exclusive rights to many Thursday Night Football games, possibly for as long as a decade.

Such a deal would "represent the league’s deepest foray into streaming … Those games wouldn’t be available on traditional television outside of the local markets of the two teams playing."

The Journal makes the point that an agreement would reflect the NFL's recognition that streaming is a significant factor in its future, though to this point viewership has not been as high on Amazon as on Fox, CBS, NBC and ESPN.    But the check Amazon would be willing and able to write certainly will compensate … and once it locks in a long-term contract, the odds are pretty good that Amazon will market this heavily (along with all the other major sports and games that it will acquire once the precedent is set).

•  CNBC reports that fast feeder Wendy's is saying that its new loyalty program is expected to drive digital sales to 10 percent of total chain sales this year, three years ahead of schedule.

“We didn’t think we’d get to 10% until 2024, pre-pandemic,” says CEO Todd Penegor.  "What we’re doing is driving a lot of active users into our app and people are engaging in the app. We’re seeing a lot more mobile ordering and it’s really because there’s a benefit.”

CNBC notes that "Wendy’s also found success in the breakfast menu it launched last year. While fewer Americans commuted to the office during the pandemic, disrupting their odds of stopping at a restaurant for a morning breakfast sandwich or coffee, breakfast sales made up about 7% of total sales last year, the company said.

"Penegor remained optimistic about being competitive with other restaurants in the morning rush. He expects the breakfast menu to account for 10% of sales by the end of 2022."

•  CNBC reports that "Yum Brands announced Tuesday that it has bought Kvantum, a company that uses artificial intelligence for consumer insights and marketing performance analytics.  The Taco Bell owner plans to use the acquisition to optimize its marketing spending, giving it a leg up on fast-food rivals. In the last decade, deal-making in the restaurant industry has expanded from adding more portfolio brands to purchasing technology that can drive sales growth for the buyer."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.