By Brian Baskin
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Heineken NV is taking more control of its supply chain, right up until customers raise their glass. The Dutch brewer has agreed to buy 1,900 Punch Taverns PLC pubs in the U.K. from a private-equity firm . Heineken, which already owns 1,049 pubs acquired in 2008 from Scottish & Newcastle, says being in the beer-serving business helps give its brands, which also include Amsteland Strongbow ciders, more visibility, the WSJ's Saabira Chaudhuri writes. Owning distribution channels also gives Heineken more clout in negotiating supply arrangements with other brewers and pub owners. It's a strategy straight from the retail playbook, where apparel and electronics makers are increasingly looking to capitalize on their brands by more tightly controlling how and where consumers buy their products.
Retailers and parcel-carriers are preparing for a perfect e-commerce storm later this month. Christmas and the start of Hanukkah fall back to back on a weekend this year, a rare calendar configuration that is likely to leave many consumers scrambling to wrap up holiday shopping at the last minute. These days, that means ordering online, which is likely to result in an avalanche of packages hitting the roads in the back of trucks and delivery vans, the WSJ's Laura Stevens writes. Retailers have booked space in United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. planes to ensure speedy delivery, but with those companies' networks already struggling to handle rising volumes, some fear a pre-Christmas online shopping frenzy could spark widespread delays. Bad weather could throw in another wrinkle, as even Amazon.com Inc.'s promises of one-hour delivery through midnight on Dec. 24 could be tough to fulfill in a blizzard.
Brick-and-mortar retailers desperately need the holiday sales boost, even if it causes some delivery headaches. These companies are still trying to move a glut of merchandise that's accumulated over the last two years, and are increasingly resort to deep discounting to increase sales, the WSJ's Suzanne Kapner reports. Retailers have been working all year to reduce inventories of unsold goods left over from the 2015 holiday season. Many have made progress, but not enough, leading department stores and others into another round of coupons and sales. Even off their peak, inventories remain a problem for the trucking industry because retail customers need fewer items shipped to warehouses already brimming with clothes, toys and electronics.
SUPPLY CHAIN STRATEGIES
The export boom helping fuel record container volumes at U.S. ports may already be on borrowed time. The dollar hit a 14-year high, adding to recent gains following the Federal Reserve's first interest rate hike of the year, the WSJ's Mike Bird, Chelsey Dulaney and James Glynn write. That's bad news for exporters, whose goods will be more expensive to overseas buyers. Outbound demand has been strong: Southern California's ports reported an 11.8% increase in November exports from the previous year. The dollar has been rising since the Nov. 8 election, buoyed by Donald Trump's promise to pass a massive stimulus, which would likely boost growth and inflation. But the greenback's gains could frustrate another stated goal of Mr. Trump's to bring more manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., as fewer factories will open if foreign consumers can't afford the goods they produce.
IN OTHER NEWS
California called Uber Technologies Inc. experiments with driverless cars in the state illegal and threatened to sue. (WSJ)
U.S. jobless claims fell last week to remain near multi-decade lows. (WSJ)
U.S. consumer prices rose for a fourth consecutive month in November. (WSJ)
New car sales in the European Union rose 5.8% in November. (WSJ)
Plane and train maker Bombardier Inc. says its turnaround plan remains on track to generate single-digit revenue growth in 2017. (WSJ)
A.P. Moller-Maersk may sell assets or cut dividends after its credit rating was put under review by Moody's Investors Services. (Maritime Executive)
Some small businesses are turning away from e-commerce as shipping and returns costs rise. (The Guardian)
U.S. regulators approved the "THE" Alliance agreement between Hapag-Lloyd AG, Yang Ming and three Japanese shipping lines. (American Shipper)
Some shippers said they are concerned cargo handled by the 2M Alliance will wind up on vessels operated by Hyundai Merchant Marine, after the carrier signed an agreement with the partnership. (The Loadstar)
DHL Freight UK is considering laying off workers and closing unprofitable facilities in the country. (Post and Parcel)
Deutsche Lufthansa AG will take over the 55% of Brussels Airlines it did not already own. (Reuters)
The Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association asked a U.S. appeals court to rehear its argument to halt requirements to install electronic logging devices in trucks. (Commercial Carrier Journal)
Same-day delivery service USPack Logistics acquired two delivery companies to expand its reach to 27 states. (Journal of Commerce)
A man is attempting to visitall 203 countries, mostly relying on container ships for transportation. (Vice)
Brian Baskin is editor of WSJ Logistics Report. Follow him at @brianjbaskin, and follow the entire WSJ Logistics Report team: @PaulPage, @lorettachao, @smithjenBK and @EEPhillips_WSJ and follow the WSJ Logistics Report on Twitter at @WSJLogistics.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 16, 2016 06:32 ET (11:32 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.