With the holidays coming up, shoppers are already worrying about whether or not they’ll give or get their gifts delivered on time, given the ongoing supply chain issues. American Eagle Outfitters wants to do something about it with the $350 million acquisition of Quiet Logistics, which was announced on Tuesday.

I’m not surprised that dealmaking in this space is picking up. E-commerce and technology are playing huge roles in retail today. Both PE and strategic buyers have been making deals in these areas. I’ve spoken with a lot of PE sources and will take a close look at this trend in our upcoming annual look at Consumer Goods and Retail, which will be featured in the November/December issue of the magazine.

Quiet Logistics offers retailers and consumer brands automated fulfillment services. The acquisition is part of AEO’s strategy to expand its supply chain and logistics platform, and the company will eventually offer those services to other retailers.

Automation is helping businesses grapple with labor shortages and supply chain challenges. Businesses have been gradually adding automation to their operation processes to fulfill more orders quickly and accurately. The combination of e-commerce sales soaring from the pandemic and labor shortages has created problems in logistics and accelerated the need for automation.

“A reliable and consistent in-market fulfillment network is vital in today’s marketplace,” said AEO chief operations officer Michael Rempell.

Now let’s all hope our holiday gifts show up on time.

 Demitri Diakantonis