FTI Con - sulting has put out a re - port urging newspapers t o r e t h i n k legacy dis - tribution of t h e i r p r i n t product.

H e r e ’s a key excerpt from the re - port:

Elimina - tion of distri - bution cen - ters could be financially beneficial. This course of action would e l i m i n a t e facility and facility man - agement ex - pense while allowing for some re-investment in carrier operations.

As pre-prints continue to decline, newspapers can move to a one-part paper, eliminating the need for preparation time and space.

While Sundays will likely remain multiple part, offsite storage and other peak-period workarounds can be employed.

There are numerous potentially lower-cost alternatives such as employing a drop-based (parking lots, strip malls), pick-up or super-carrier models (simi - lar to a state contract arrangement) that rely more on all carriers or a sub-set of carriers to act as distributors or agents.

In addition, mail (USPS) can be used strategically for very low-density and in-network areas.

Online retail sales

FTI also put out a report on online retail sales that sheds light on consumer behavior and advertising opportunities.

Here’s a key excerpt from that report:

This has been an unexpected banner year for online retail sales, mostly attributable to the impacts of business shutdowns and social-distancing prac - tices on the way Americans shop in this year of pandemic. Nobody saw it coming or anticipated its effect on the consumer economy.

Whether or not they wanted to, most Americans became more frequent online shoppers in 2020. This development has profound implications for the retail sector, not just in 2020 but for the decade ahead, as most shoppers won’t likely go back to their old spending ways in a post-COVID world.

We now expect online retail sales growth will increase by 25% for the year, nearly double our previous estimate. Our revised forecast model expects on - line retail sales to reach $748 billion in 2020 compared to $598 billion last year and our previous 2020 forecast of $677 billion—a $71 billion windfall attributable to COVID-19