Ryder System Inc. is the latest operator to jump into the business, paying $120m this month to buy MXD Group, a logistics firm that specializes in “final mile” delivery of big items to consumers’ doorsteps.
The deal extends Ryder’s bid to move into areas beyond its well-known truck-leasing business, and reflects the growing attraction of a sector that has been transformed by e-commerce.
Shoppers accustomed to getting online purchases in days, not weeks, and tracking those packages, now look for similar service when they buy big items like couches, washing machines and exercise equipment. Such objects often require installation or special handling, and may not fit in the highly automated systems that carriers like United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. use to sort millions of packages each day.
That has drawn in large trucking operators who want to use their scale to lure large retailers as customers for home-delivery services.
Furniture is one of the fastest-growing segments of U.S. online retail, with Amazon.com Inc., Wayfair Inc. and other e-commerce firms competing for market share with big-box stores and furniture chains like Crate and Barrel.
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