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Alistair Barr

SAN FRANCISCO — Some of the world’s largest retailers are turning their stores into mini distribution hubs to help them compete better online against Amazon.com.

Instead of fulfilling Web orders from warehouses hundreds of miles from shoppers’ homes, companies including Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Gap are routing orders to stores nearby.

Store employees pick products from shelves, pack them into boxes and drop them into waiting FedEx and UPS trucks that zip off to homes a few miles away.

The trend, known as Ship from Store, saves money through shorter delivery routes. More important, it speeds deliveries, avoids costly markdowns and recoups sales that have been lost to Amazon, the world’s largest Internet retailer. read more »


The future of retail came to Jamie Nordstrom not in a dream, but though his email inbox from Amazon.com Inc, the online retailer that Nordstrom now targets as his biggest rival.

The 40 year-old, great-grandson of Nordstrom Inc founder John W. Nordstrom and president of Nordstrom Direct ordered a fishing tackle box from Amazon last year. And then he received emails from Amazon about other tackle boxes for five straight days.

On the sixth day, Amazon sent an email to buy an additive that is often used to preserve gasoline in boats stored over the winter — an example of Amazon’s strength crunching customer data to provide more relevant recommendations. read more »


PayPal has launched a price-matching offer, following similar moves by retailers including Target Corp, as the payments giant tries to encourage more shoppers to use its service this holiday season.

If consumers purchase products with PayPal and the items are advertised for lower prices by any merchant within 30 days, PayPal said it will reimburse users the difference.

The price-matching offer announced Nov. 1 includes PayPal purchases made online and in physical stores and runs through Dec. 31, the company, owned by eBay Inc, added.

Price matching has emerged as a tool some retailers are using to head off competition from Amazon.com Inc this holiday season. read more »


SAN FRANCISCO — PayPal is in the early stages of what may be a blockbuster mobile payments deal with McDonald’s Corp, the world’s biggest hamburger chain.

McDonald’s is testing a mobile payments service featuring PayPal at 30 of its restaurants in France. Earlier this year, McDonald’s ran demonstrations of a broader PayPal mobile payments service at its franchisee conference in Orlando, Fla.

A McDonald’s spokeswoman confirmed the France tests and said the PayPal demonstration at its conference was part of a booth that features “technology coming within the next 24 months or so.” read more »

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