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Walmart expands its 'unlimited' grocery delivery service nationwide


A man pushes his shopping cart past bread for sale at a Walmart Supercenter store in Rosemead, California on May 23, 2019.

Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

Walmart said Thursday it will be expanding a new "unlimited" grocery delivery service, which costs users $98 annually, to 1,400 stores this fall.

The biggest retailer in the world had earlier this year been testing what it calls Delivery Unlimited in four markets — Houston, Miami, Salt Lake City and Tampa. As part of the nationwide rollout, it said the service will be available in 200 metro areas where it already has regular grocery delivery, reaching more than 50% of the U.S. population, by the end of the year.

Walmart's Delivery Unlimited gives shoppers the option to pay either $98 per year or $12.95 per month to receive unlimited grocery delivery orders to their homes. Typically, on an order-by-order basis, delivery would cost an additional $9.99. In addition to fresh produce, meat and bakery items, some general merchandise is offered under the new unlimited service, the company said.

"We've been investing in our online grocery business by quickly expanding our Grocery Pickup and Delivery services. Delivery Unlimited is the next step in that journey," Tom Ward, senior vice president of Walmart's digital operations in the U.S., said in a statement. "By pairing our size and scale and these services we're making Walmart the easiest place to shop."

Walmart said it has more than 45,000 personal shoppers helping it pack grocery orders for customers every day. It says these people must complete three weeks of training before they can begin that work.

This nationwide rollout builds on a strong grocery business that Walmart has already been amassing in the U.S. It has an online grocery order pickup option, for example, available at nearly 3,000 stores today.

Other retailers offer similar options, with which Walmart is trying to compete.

Target owns delivery platform Shipt, where users can pay $99 per year to have certain items, including groceries, delivered same day. Amazon's Prime membership has an annual fee of $119, in order to have perks like free same-day delivery and discounts at Whole Foods Market. FreshDirect and Instacart are other competitors in the space.

Meanwhile, Walmart is also this fall testing delivering groceries directly inside customers' homes.

Walmart shares are up nearly 25% this year.


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