FedEx expands retail reach with Home Hardware deal

FedEx (NYSE:FDX) is expanding its retail presence in Canada through a partnership with Home Hardware Stores that allows the delivery service to build shipping centers throughout the chain's national network of independently owned stores and building centers.

Home Hardware is headquartered in St. Jacobs near Kitchener, Ont., with nearly 1,100 stores across Canada. FedEx hasn't said how many locations will house the full-service FedEx shipping centers. A pilot of the program is currently operating from a single store in Kitchener, and the full rollout will happen in stages throughout the year.

FedEx said the new retail agreement provides an opportunity for both partners to tap the growing demand for package delivery as demand for e-commerce continues to soar.

"Our alliance with Home Hardware expands our retail footprint across Canada, giving online shoppers more points-of-access options to meet their shopping needs," said Lisa Lisson, president of FedEx Express Canada.

FedEx projects in its 2013 annual report that e-commerce will reach $1 trillion by 2016. As such, many retailers have begun to introduce programs that help customers get goods faster while keeping costs low. More companies have begun to offer more ship-to-store and click-and-collect items, which shoppers can order online and pick up in-store.

Other retailers have also cooperated with mail carriers in partnerships similar to the one between FedEx and Home Hardware. The U.S. Postal Service and Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) last fall launched a pilot program that brought USPS postal counters inside 82 Staples stores. The initiative, called the USPS Retail Partner Expansion Program, offers more convenient locations for both Staples and USPS customers to complete their postal transactions.

Retailers and delivery companies have been busy building out infrastructure and expanding capabilities in the wake of Holiday 2013, when large numbers of orders failed to make it to customers in time for Christmas.

For more:
-See this FedEx press release

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