Walmart shares rise; retailer announces home delivery expansion

Retail Signs

USA mega-retailer Walmart will expand its grocery delivery service to reach 40% of United States households by the end of the year, the company said. That means it will be making deliveries from 800 stores in total.

In contrast, Google Express - which also supports Walmart among multiple other stores - offers free delivery for orders that meet the minimum spend of each store.

He said Walmart will be "aggressive" with the rollout and plans to eventually make the service available to all of its United States shoppers. "We're serving our customers in ways that no one else can".

Now, however, Walmart has devised a slick new work-around, according to today's Wall Street Journal: New Yorkers may balk at Walmart being physically inside the five boroughs (even in Staten Island), but it's betting they can't say no to same-day delivery of low-priced groceries.

Walmart and Amazon's duel for retail dominion is showing little sign of slowing down. Whole Foods also now offers delivery through Instacart, which ships groceries for Kroger, Acme and Costco, too.Target late previous year bought online grocery delivery startup Shipt for $550 million, adding to the competition. All will be required to get groceries to a customer in the same time that a shopper would take to drive home, he said.

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Ward disagreed that Walmart's move was related to Amazon, saying: "This is our response to honestly what our customers have been looking for". This could put it at a disadvantage, but there isn't compelling evidence yet that speed offers a competitive advantage in grocery delivery.

A recent study conducted by the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen concluded that 70 percent of consumers will be grocery shopping online in as few as five to seven years. Select alcohol is also available for delivery to customers. Amazon is using Whole Foods to deliver fresh groceries to Prime customers in a handful of USA markets and plans to expand the service nationally in 2018.

"It's going to happen pretty quickly throughout the year", Ward said, adding that the ultimate plan will be to reach as many households as possible. Other delivery companies will be added later this year. Customers place their orders online at Walmart.com/grocery or on the Walmart Grocery App.

Amazon is now rolling out free two-hour delivery of Whole Foods groceries in six cities to Prime members who pay $99 a year.