Walmart is finally getting serious about grocery delivery

Walmart is getting serious about delivering groceries to your house.


The retailing behemoth will expand its grocery home delivery services to more than 100 metro areas this year from the current six cities as the retailer steps up a fight against rival Amazon.

Under the new program, Walmart workers will pack online grocery orders at stores and then hand them off to a delivery company or startups like Uber. Other delivery companies will be added later this year.

That’s in contrast to a plan Walmart announced last summer, in which the retailer said its own store employees would start delivering groceries on their way home from work shifts.

The service would be rolled out to more than 40 percent of US households by the end of the year, Walmart said Wednesday. Deliveries will cost $9.95 with a minimum $30 order.


“We will be pretty aggressive with it,” said Tom Ward, vice president of digital operations on a call with reporters.

So far, Walmart offers curbside grocery pickup at 1,200 stores and plans to accelerate the rollout to 2,200 by year-end. It’s currently using 18,000 personal shoppers.

Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods Market last year has raised the stakes in the highly competitive grocery delivery wars. Amazon recently added free two-hour Whole Foods delivery to six cities, including Atlanta, Dallas and Cincinnati for its Prime members who pay $99 a year.

Walmart also will use Jet, the Hoboken, NJ-based web retailer it acquired in 2016, to offer a same-day grocery-delivery service in New York City to compete with Amazon’s Prime Now same-day delivery service, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall).

The expanded service allows the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer to get its store shoppers to transact with the company online, where they spend twice as much. It also comes at a time of intense competition within the grocery space and follows Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods last year.

Last month, Walmart shares got slammed as the company said online revenue growth slowed in the most recent quarter, raising questions about its ability to compete with Amazon. Walmart said its online sales are still on track to rise 40 percent this year.

Amazon is now rolling out free two-hour delivery of Whole Foods groceries in six cities to Prime members who pay $99 a year. Meanwhile, grocery startup Instacart has been expanding its roster of clients including B.J.’s and Kroger.

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

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