In Challenge To Amazon, Walmart Will Deliver Groceries In Over 100 Cities

Retail Signs

Walmart has announced plans to expand its online grocery delivery option to more than 40 percent of US households by the end of the year.

Walmart plans to use its team of personal shoppers to pull together orders in stores and will team up with crowdsourced delivery services including Uber to send groceries.

Amazon is now rolling out free two-hour delivery of Whole Foods groceries in six cities to Prime members who pay $99 a year. The decision will also create damaging competition to Kroger (NYSE: KR) and other companies which focus nearly exclusively on the grocery business. Its Jet.com unit will offer same-day delivery in New York City. No subscription is required.

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

Walmart Inc. has also been testing a service using its US store workers to drop off general merchandise like toys and bedding to customers' homes after they finish work.

That has U.S. grocers racing to meet demand, Chris Medenwald, a marketing manager at Field Agent, said in a report. The news is the latest salvo in Walmart's quickly escalating war with Amazon, which just last month announced Whole Foods grocery delivery was available via Prime Now.

Even discount chain Aldi is exploring grocery delivery options.

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"Walmart must expand its delivery capabilities if it is to remain a contender against Amazon and lead the pack against all the rest", Spieckerman said.

"We are gaining new customers who might not have had access to Walmart previously", Ward said about what he's learned from the pilot test of grocery delivery thus far.

Customers place their orders via Walmart's dedicated website, walmart.com/grocery, or the standalone Walmart Grocery app.

The percent of the USA covered by the service is even more important than the city count.

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's grocery delivery business will be supported by a number of partners, including Uber, the company said on Wednesday. He did not specify which companies will be involved in the expansion and said Walmart will "continue to understand how that is going to look over the next 12 months". "We're serving our customers in ways that no one else can".

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