Walmart to Expand Grocery Delivery as Amazon Battle Intensifies

Walmart to expand grocery delivery business to 800 stores by year's end

Orders will be packaged by"personal shoppers in Walmart stores and delivery is being crowdsourced from partners such

Instacart serves Walmart, Amazon, Costco and more.

Uber will continue to be one of the delivery providers, but Ward indicated Walmart will work with other companies as well.

After testing out grocery delivery over the past two years in six USA markets, the largest retailer in the world said Wednesday it will bring the service to more than 100 metro areas in the United States over the coming months.

"We're going to try and accelerate this program as fast as we can", said Tom Ward, Walmart US' vice president of digital operations.

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It also complements Walmart's rollout of curbside grocery pickup, now available in 1,200 stores and coming to an additional 1,000 this year.

Walmart (WMT) will offer home grocery delivery to 100 metro areas, or 40% of the USA population, by year-end to compete with Amazon.com (AMZN), Kroger (KR), Costco Wholesale (COST), Target (TGT) and others expanding similar services.

And Target, through its acquisition of grocery delivery startup Shipt previous year, is expanding same-day delivery of such items as groceries and electronics to almost every major market by the holiday shopping season.

"We will. reach as many households as we can", Ward said. Customers place their orders online at Walmart.com/grocery or on the existing Walmart Grocery App, and unlike other services, they find the same every day low prices on items that they do in stores. "We will leverage our footprint where it makes the most sense".

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With greater control over how its produce is grown, Walmart could vertically-integrate, manage crop yields more effectively, and draw shoppers with transparency and sustainability. Ward said more workers are moving into that position on a weekly basis, as more Walmart stores are outfitted to fulfill orders via its website.

Amazon, which acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion previous year, recently introduced two-hour grocery delivery from Whole Foods to its Prime members in four cities - Austin, Texas; Cincinnati; Dallas; and Virginia Beach, Va. - with further expansion expected. The service was being offered in Dallas, San Jose, Denver, Phoenix, Tampa and Orlando.

For Walmart's new service, each delivery will cost customers $9.95 and orders must be a minimum of $30 each.

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