“La Poste has decided to get out of the mess that is the express delivery market”

DObviously, at the moment, everyone is abandoning the cursed express delivery sector. The last big European fish in the sector, the Turkish Getir, is struggling to digest the absorption of all his little playmates, in particular the German Gorillas (who had swallowed the French Frichti). As for the competitor Flink, its French subsidiary which was filing for bankruptcy was taken over at the bar of the commercial court at the last minute by its general director, Guillaume Luscan, on Tuesday September 12.

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Faced with the failure of a sector which has never demonstrated the solidity of its economic model, La Poste, the leading parcel deliverer in France, has decided to extricate itself from this problem. It announced on Monday September 18 that it was in negotiations with the German group Mutares for the sale of its small subsidiary Stuart.

This promising start-up was purchased in 2017 to complete its delivery offering. With Colissimo, Chronopost and DPD, the public group was already delivering parcels of all sizes within a few days. Thanks to Stuart and his bicycle couriers, he had access to almost instantaneous delivery, the ultimate in service to busy city dwellers.

Sometimes chaotic management of subcontractors

The company, which has more than 200 employees in France, has expanded into around a hundred European cities, with thousands of independent cyclists. “We have not succeeded in [l’]integrate into our operational model », indicates La Poste to Agence France-Presse. If the public group’s operational model consists of not losing money on its activities, it is indeed a failure. Over the first half of this fiscal year 2023, it recorded 134 million euros in provisions to cover Stuart’s cumulative losses.

However, this is not the only reason for this abandonment. The instant delivery market, kingdom of Getir, Gorillas and other Flink, which ensured the delivery of the packet of peanuts and the toothbrush in a quarter of an hour day and night, has not kept its promises. So, Stuart focused, like the others, on the only segment justifying such speed: catering.

This territory has already been largely conquered by Deliveroo and Uber Eats, who themselves are struggling to turn a profit. Because this fragile profession relies on the calves of independent cyclists paid by slingshots. Not good for the reputation of La Poste, already monopolized by the sometimes chaotic management of its countless subcontractors in vans.

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However, La Poste is not abandoning start-ups and their hopes. It needs it to manage its major transition imposed by the digital shift, that of mail (in decline) to parcels (in growth). However, the path is tortuous. It is turning to more politically correct players, such as 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.

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