Michael Rubin, chairman of the board of directors of online sportswear giant Fanatics, told CNBC on Wednesday that retail sales this holiday season were negatively impacted by shipping problems.
“There was so much pressure on the various shipping networks to deliver, I think there was even more demand that could have been had,” Rubin said on Squawk Box. “As good as the business is, it could have been better.”
Overall, e-commerce sales rose 22% to $ 9 billion on Black Friday alone as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Adobe Analytics. However, this growth comes at a price that puts a strain on warehouse and logistics networks. For example, on Cyber Monday, UPS asked its drivers to stop picking up packages from some major retailers after those companies reached their capacity allocations.
The rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, which began this month after the Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use of Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, kicked off millions of additional doses being distributed in the U.S.
UPS spokesman Dan McMackin said vaccine shipments were “the top priority for delivery on the UPS network,” but he said it did not affect vacation package deliveries.
“UPS has carefully planned the main holiday season with our customers. We have also worked with Operation Warp Speed, vaccine manufacturers and other partners to carefully plan for many months what vaccine delivery requirements need to be made,” he said.
Rubin, a partner with the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, said the pandemic had generally sped up e-commerce adoption by two or three years.
“I think e-commerce you will see 30% plus [growth] across the border. We had a great year, “said Rubin, whose fanatics were worth $ 6.2 billion during a Series E funding round in August.” Most interesting, however, was that the demand could have been even better if the shipping networks only had more capacity. But with Corona delivering vaccines for the first time, there is so much pressure on the shipping networks this year. “
Earlier this week, Fanatics announced that it has partnered with Barnes & Noble Education to run the e-commerce operation for sporting goods sold in bookstores on campus. The partnership includes Lids, with the companies making a $ 15 million equity investment in Barnes & Noble Education.
“I think somehow the company was misunderstood, and from our perspective we looked at it and said, ‘We really believe we can work together to strengthen this offering,'” said Rubin of Barnes & Noble Education. “We’re going to leverage all of Fanatics’ e-commerce capabilities and place them behind the 775 universities to give them the best deal – better technology, better mobility, wider range.”
Barnes & Noble Education stocks rose 1.7% on Wednesday. The partnership with Fanatics was announced ahead of Monday’s opening, and the stock is up about 12% this week.