In Latest Amazon Jab, Walmart Expands Same-Day Grocery Delivery

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Walmart announced plans Wednesday (March 14) to expand its online grocery delivery service to more than 100 USA metropolitan areas by the end of 2018, making it available to more than 40 percent of US households according to the company. While the exact metro areas haven't been disclosed, Walmart claims the expansion will allow its delivery service to serve 40 percent of United States households.

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's announcement comes only weeks after Amazon brought onboard a pair of new cities to its Prime grocery delivery service, which brought its total number of cities to six. The online delivery service carries a $9.95 fee and a $30 minimum order.

That's not the case at Walmart, which sees an opening to counterpunch Amazon and utilize its existing physical store footprint to take a bigger bite out of the $800 billion that Americans spend on groceries each year. "We're serving our customers in ways that no one else can".

Walmart says it will continue to use of ride-hailing services like Uber to deliver the goods to shoppers' homes as it expands its service. Before committing to a national expansion, Walmart had to first figure out how to cut shipping costs and make grocery delivery a more efficient and scalable part of its business.

Amazon also is looking to leverage its own grocery footprint following its blockbuster $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods a year ago.

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To check if Walmart Grocery is available in your area, you can visit its website here. But the program's crown jewel is same-day delivery in NY.

In order to make the service possible, Walmart employs trained personal shoppers who shop for and deliver the groceries. In June, Publix announced it would offer same-day grocery delivery from all of its locations by 2020, many of which are already operating in Tampa Bay.

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.

"We have learned an terrible lot from our delivery pilot", Walmarts vice president of digital operations Tom Ward said during a telephone press conference on Tuesday.

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