dObviously, everyone is leaving the damn express delivery sector by now. The last large European fish in this sector, the Turkish getter, struggles to swallow all its smaller mates, especially the German gorillas (which swallowed the French fricht). As for rival Flink, its French subsidiary filed for bankruptcy at the bar of the Commercial Court at the last minute by its CEO, Guillaume Luskan, on Tuesday, September 12.
Faced with the failure of a sector that has never demonstrated the strength of its economic model, La Poste, the leader of parcels in France, has decided to get rid of this problem. It announced on Monday 18 September that it was in talks with German group Mutares to sell its smaller Stuart subsidiary.
This promising startup was acquired in 2017 to complete its delivery offering. Together with Colissimo, Chronopost and DPD, the community group was already delivering parcels of all sizes within days. Thanks to Stuart and his bicycle couriers, he had access to near-instant delivery, perfect for busy city dwellers.
Sometimes chaotic management of subcontractors
The company, which has more than 200 employees in France, has expanded to over a hundred European cities with thousands of independent cyclists. “We did not succeed [l’]Integrate into our operating model », reports La Poste Agence France-Presse. If the operating model of a community group is to not lose money on its activities, it is truly a failure. During the first half of the 2023 fiscal year, it recorded provisions of €134 million to cover Stewart’s cumulative losses.
However, this is not the only reason for this abandonment. The instant delivery marketplace, the kingdom of Gethir, Gorillas, and more Flink, which provided quarter-hour delivery of a packet of peanuts and a toothbrush 24 hours a day, 24/7, didn’t deliver on its promises. So Stewart, like others, focused on the only segment that justifies such speed: nutrition.
This area has already been largely taken over by Deliveroo and Uber Eats, which are themselves struggling to turn a profit. Because this fragile profession relies on the calves of independent cyclists who are paid by the sling. Not good for the reputation of La Poste, already monopolized in vans by the sometimes chaotic management of its myriad subcontractors.
However, La Poste does not abandon startups and their hopes. It needs it to manage its major transition, imposed by the digital shift, from mail (declining) to parcels (increasing). However, the road is winding. It will target more politically correct players like Epicery, acquired in 2021. This platform connects Internet users with businesses and restaurants in their neighborhood. Proximity replaces immediacy, even if the difference seems very slight.
Source: Le Monde
Ashley Fitzgerald is a financial whiz and a writer at Run Down Bulletin. With a passion for all things economy, she provides insightful and thought-provoking coverage of the latest economic trends and events.