The evolution of on-line commerce has been a strange one. Initially, business-to-consumer strategies were king and the equity markets crowned them with billions of dollars. Among the many recipients of the largess were Internet-based direct-to-consumer grocery sales, most with no ties to traditional food retailers. On-line purveyors of grocery product spent vast sums on backstage logistics with the idea of building such efficiency into the process that a fundamental contradiction in the ...

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