business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The Dallas Morning News reports that Amazon "has explored opening discount retail stores selling a mix of home goods and electronics, a potentially significant expansion of the company’s growing portfolio of brick-and-mortar locations.

"The outlets would carry unsold inventory sitting in Amazon’s warehouses at steep discounts, according to two people familiar with the plans. The company has considered opening permanent stores, as well as pop-up locations in malls or parking lots, said the people. The plans were preliminary and under discussion last year, but the pandemic and new Fresh grocery chain forced many employees to focus on day-to-day operations."

•  Arts and crafts retailer Michael's announced that it is piloting a same-day delivery program with Instacart in 100 stores located in markets that include Chicago, Dallas, and Washington, DC.

In a prepared statement, Heather Bennett, executive vice president of innovation at Michaels, said, “As the largest one-stop-shop for all things arts and crafts in North America, our partnership with Instacart provides a quick and convenient way for our Makers to purchase ordinary craft supplies so they can create extraordinary projects."

The pandemic was a major driver of sales at Michael's - its e-commerce sales in 2020 were up more than 300 percent.

•  The Seattle Times reports that Amazon's plans to beef up its presence in Bellevue, just east of Seattle - reflect its post-pandemic commitment to returning its employees to an office-centric model.

According to the story, Amazon's plans look "a lot like the tech giant’s dense, walkable South Lake Union campus … The permit application for Bellevue 600, the company’s under-construction double-tower complex near Bellevue City Hall, shows plans for nearly 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, two day-care centers, an arts facility and a coffee shop. A lushly landscaped pedestrian breezeway will run between the buildings, connecting the Bellevue Transit Center and future light rail station. Nearly 7,000 employees are expected to work in the 31-story and 43-story towers."