Axios Closer

Picture of a golden bell on a white background.

Welcome back and happy August!

🔔 The dashboard: The S&P 500 closed down 0.3%.

  • Biggest gainer? Boeing (+6.1%), following a report that the FAA cleared the way for the jet maker to resume deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner.
  • Biggest decliner? Royal Caribbean (-7.6%), after coming out with a $900 million convertible bond offering.

Today's newsletter, edited by Pete Gannon, is 699 words, a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Amazon delivers same-day for mall brands

Illustration of Amazon shipping box freight truck

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Amazon's newest Prime perk is same-day delivery from stores such as GNC and PacSun, Hope writes.

Why it matters: The added service demonstrates how much its consumer retail business has helped to fuel its enterprise e-commerce.

Catch up quick: Amazon announced today that Prime members in more than 10 cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., can get items from Superdry, Diesel, and others delivered same-day for free.

  • Important caveats: Qualifying purchases need to be $25 or more. And orders are placed through the Amazon app or on Amazon.com.

Context: Other retailers including Sephora and grocery chains have been using platforms such as Instacart or UberEats to get their goods to homes.

  • Coresight Research CEO Deborah Weinswig tells Axios that one Amazon advantage is that it can deliver a variety of goods in one trip.

The big picture: Heavy investments that Amazon has made in its logistics are paying off at a larger scale.

  • “It’s taking an existing same-day delivery infrastructure and expanding it to other retailers,” Forrester principal analyst Sucharita Kodali tells Axios. 

What to watch: The real appeal and benefits of same-day delivery to retailers and customers. 

  • While there has been massive funding for speedy delivery startups, customer demand isn’t there yet, says Kodali.
  • On the other hand, Weinswig sees same-day delivery as being able to help customers make more sustainable decisions — such as buying one gallon of milk when they need it, versus six gallons that could go to waste.

2. Charted: Two ways to clean a dish

Weekly dishwasher use
Data: EIA. Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Please use the dishwasher — that's Procter & Gamble's plea, Nathan writes.

  • The company is doubling down on a long-running campaign to increase usage of the appliance in hopes of boosting its 70-year-old Cascade dishwashing brand, Bloomberg reports.

State of play: About 4 in 10 households don't use a dishwasher in a given week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

  • About 27% don't have one, and another 14% don't use the one that's there.

The intrigue: At least some shirk the dishwasher in the belief they are saving water, a narrative P&G has long been seeking to dispel.

3. What's happening

🚛 An April accident sparked concerns that an autonomous-trucking company may be sacrificing safety to rush technology to market. (WSJ)

The SEC charged 11 people associated with Forsage in a crypto pyramid scheme. (Axios)

4. Book deal goes on trial

A gavel knocking over books in a domino effect

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A federal trial that began today will determine whether Penguin Random House can acquire rival Simon & Schuster for $2.2 billion, marrying the first- and fourth-largest U.S. book publishers, Axios Pro's Kerry Flynn reports.

Why it matters: The outcome will set a precedent for mergers and acquisitions at large, as the Biden administration continues to challenge corporate consolidation.

What they're saying: The DOJ, which filed the lawsuit last November, argued Penguin Random House would gain "outsized influence" over which books are published in the U.S. and how much authors are paid.

  • The other side: The company contends the government's argument amounts to "artificial concentration to create artificial harm," Deadline reported.

What's next: The trial is slated to run August 1-19, with a ruling expected in November, per Vanity Fair.

5. Nordstrom tire myth traced

Illustration of a tire almost out of the spotlight

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nordstrom's customer service has been described as "legendary."

  • And that famous story you may have heard about being able to return anything — even car tires? It's true, the company says.

Driving the news: The retailer tracked down the former employee responsible for the famed refund and featured him on today’s episode of the company’s podcast, The Nordy Pod, Hope writes.

  • Craig Trounce worked at a Nordstrom store in Fairbanks, Alaska, more than 40 years ago.
  • A customer rolled in a pair of used car tires and insisted he bought them in that building. Nordstrom never sold tires, but it did acquire three stores from a company that did.
  • Instead of turning the customer away, Trounce called a tire company to get an idea of the price and made the exchange.

Trounce’s thought bubble: “My grandmother from Germany had a saying — how you holler in the woods is how it echoes back."

6. What they're saying

“There are real concerns that our productivity as a whole is not where it needs to be for the head count we have.”
— Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai to Google employees in an internal meeting, according to CNBC.

Thanks to Patricia Guadalupe for copy editing today's newsletter.