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Supply Chain Issues Keep Grainger’s Digital Plans Flexible, The State of the American Mall and Reserve Trust to Become ‘Stripe for B2B Payments’

Supply Chain Issues Keep Grainger’s Digital Plans Flexible

During their second-quarter earnings call, W.W. Grainger Inc.’s CEO said it expects supply chain challenges to continue through this year and possibly into 2022. Furthermore, for the second quarter, the company reports that its total sales grew by 13% year-over-year to $3.2B.

Raw material shortages, labor shortages and transportation challenges forced Grainger to adjust their ecommerce and fulfillment operations. The company now relies on fulfilling orders from nearby regional facilities when inventory supplies become unavailable at a primary location. 

“We are actively leveraging our network,” D.G. Macpherson, CEO, said. “For example, for a customer located in New York, we would typically fulfill their entire order from our Northeast DC. Due to supply constraints or product delays, now part of the order may only be available in Louisville.”

Despite the ongoing supply chain volatility, Grainger is seeing continued momentum in targeted end markets, especially heavy manufacturing and higher education as schools prepare to reopen in the fall.

What stood out to us? Remember when toilet paper shortages were the biggest supply chain disruption we faced?

The State of the American Mall

American malls have increasingly become a story of the haves and the have-nots. According to Green Street, of the 1,000 U.S. malls it tracks, 750 have vacant anchor boxes - vast spaces that once housed chains like Sears, Nordstrom and Macy’s.

“There’s no question the pandemic really widened the gap between the higher- and lower-quality malls in the country,” Vince Tibone, a senior analyst covering retail for Green Street, said. “For the best one or two malls in any given market, there will still be tenant demand, there will still be customers. And then the lower end is going to be even more challenged because they lost even more of their national tenants.”

Many small mall tenants have clauses in their leases that allow them to pay reduced rent or even leave if two or more anchor stores depart. For malls already teetering on the edge, the exodus of retail giants signals the beginning of a very grim spiral. 

What stood out to us? Maybe Blockbuster or RadioShack would be interested in purchasing the real estate?

Reserve Trust Raises $30.5M to Become the ‘Stripe for B2B Payments’

Reserve Trust, a Denver-based financial services provider, is poised to become “the first fintech trust company with a Federal Reserve master account.” This will allow the company to move dollars on behalf of its customer directly, via wire and ACH payment rails, without an intermediate or partner bank.

Historically, only banks were able to access these payment rails directly, which left both domestic and international fintechs “with limited partner options, poor technology and slow implementations when it came to embedding high-value B2B payments,” COO Dave Cahill said.

The newly acquired funds will mainly go toward helping the company scale to handle “a fairly overwhelming amount of demand” and toward building out the team, the technology and the services it needs to address the payment needs of larger, faster growing fintechs around the world.

What stood out to us? What will be the new equivalent of “the check’s in the mail”?

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