Oct 2, 2018

The retail war over bed-in-a-box

Mattress-Domino in a parking lot in western Germany. Photo: Frank Rumpenhorst/AFP via Getty Images

Last week, we reported that old retailers are learning new tricks from the younger upstarts. That's happening right now in the mattress business.

What's going on: For decades, a few mattress kings ruled America — Tempur Sealy and Serta Simmons among them. Then, hip startups like Casper, Leesa and Tuft & Needle sold millennials on the concept of the affordable, but high-end, bed-in-a-box that arrives at your door. Now, the big players are playing catch-up.

  • Walmart already offers a bed-in-a-box through its own brand, Allswell.
  • Serta Simmons, a legacy company, is merging with Tuft & Needle, which is only six years old.
  • But Amazon scared all the incumbents when it announced Monday that it's launching its own private label mattress, which will be eligible for two-day shipping.

The bottom line: Companies have learned to beware Amazon's moves into their areas. The tech giant has endless data on what people want to buy, deep pockets and a habit of winning.

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Ivanka Trump plans focus on coronavirus recovery for small businesses

Ivanka Trump speaks at yesterday's White House videoconference with bank and credit card executives. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Ivanka Trump personally lobbied top bank executives to line up the $1.5 billion in commitments to small business that were announced yesterday at a videoconference among the bank executives and President Trump — stoking competitive juices among the execs to drive up their commitments.

The state of play: Ivanka, who has had workforce development in her portfolio going back to 2017, plans an increasing emphasis on small businesses in the weeks ahead as they navigate the rescue bill’s Payroll Protection Program, sources tell me.

Public transit's death spiral

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won't bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.

Why it matters: Transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of as much as $38 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TransitCenter. At the same time, they're more important than ever, with more than 36% of essential workers relying on public transportation to get to work.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: London mayor says U.K. nowhere near lockdown lifting

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered hope in the fight against the novel coronavirus, saying she believes New Zealand has "turned a corner" after two weeks of strict lockdown measures. But London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the U.K. is "nowhere near" lifting restrictions.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed over 82,000 people and infected 1.4 million others globally as of early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Global recoveries have surpassed 301,000. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 141,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 17,000). Half the planet's population is on lockdown.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health