Fast Company has the story of how IKEA’s online store basically shat the bed during the pandemic. With physical stores closed, the only way to buy things from IKEA was to order online, which completely overwhelmed their inventory management, delivery and customer service infrastructure. Based on the horror stories from the r/IKEA subreddit (which also informed the FC article), and our own experience (we made a small order early in March that took nearly two months to get here: we got off easy), it seems clear that IKEA’s supply lines were mostly aimed at their stores; they treated online and home delivery as an under-resourced afterthought. That didn’t turn out well.
I am substantially bummed by the news that Mountain Equipment Co-op is under credit protection and has agreed to be acquired by a U.S.-based private investment firm. The firm has agreed to keep at least 17 of MEC’s 22 stores open, but MEC as we know it will be no more: it will be a privately held company, not a cooperative—another retail institution to disappear into the maw of private equity. I’ve been a member for decades and have had a lot of affection for the joint, even if I haven’t been buying as many things there lately as I have in the past. (Which might be the problem, if I’m not alone in that.)