Clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co. has launched same-day delivery service across all of its 450 U.S. store sites by deploying a spectrum of crowd-sourced parcel carriers, as the last-mile sector continues to evolve beyond its reliance on just a handful of large providers.
Abercrombie & Fitch will support the expanded service by partnering with Uber, Postmates, Target Corp.’s Shipt division, UPS Inc.’s Roadie division, and with the software provider Delivery Solutions, the New Albany, Ohio-based company said Thursday. That approach will expand its fulfillment capabilities and enhance delivery speed across its portfolio of brands, which include Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie kids, Hollister, and Gilly Hicks locations.
The move comes as traditional parcel powerhouses like UPS and FedEx Corp. have capped the number of packages they will accept from many large shippers, making an effort to preserve their on-time delivery service levels amid a glut of online orders that has surged during the pandemic e-commerce boom.
At the same time, the U.S. Postal Service has launched a 10-year plan to transform its core letter-carrying capability by building up its parcel division, even as mega-retailers like Amazon.com and Walmart have constructed their own private delivery networks. Earlier this month, Arkansas-based Walmart said it had opened up its last-mile delivery channel to commercial clients through a deal to provide same-day and next-day delivery service for building goods vendor The Home Depot.
As the U.S. parcel delivery landscape goes through those growing pains, some regional carriers are seizing the opportunity to expand their ranges and capabilities. Vienna, Virginia-based freight firm LaserShip this month acquired its fellow last-mile delivery provider OnTrac and then hired a high-profile supply chain executive from The Home Depot as its new CEO to manage that growth.
Abercrombie & Fitch made its move in that context as a way to firm up its omnichannel and online offerings and continue to migrate away from its historical foundation of catalog and brick-and-mortar-based sales.
“We’re thrilled to add same-day delivery as another option in our portfolio of omnichannel services, which also include purchase online pick up in store, curbside pickup, reserve in store, ship from store and traditional parcel home delivery,” Larry Grischow, Abercrombie & Fitch’s executive vice president, Supply Chain and Procurement, said in a release. “Same-day delivery supports our goals of meeting our customers where they are and delivering our product to them when and how they want it, particularly as we approach the holiday season.”
The company has likewise invested in its fulfillment technology network through initiatives like its deal to hire contract warehousing provider GXO Logistics to open a 715,000 square-foot distribution center (DC) in metropolitan Phoenix later this year, that will use automated material handling systems and robotics to serve as the retailer’s new West Coast operations hub.