Walmart's online same-day grocery ready for prime-time

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NEW YORK — Walmart is expanding its same-day online grocery delivery service to in excess of 40 percent of U.S. households, or 100 metro areas, by year-end mainly because it efforts to keep pace with web leader Amazon.com.

The services available in six markets.

Tom Ward, v . p . of Walmart's digital operations, says the retail giant is powering the increase from the same-day delivery service having its online grocery pickup program. That service uses personal shoppers to select items and bring them to shoppers' cars parked on the curb.

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

Walmart says it can continue to use of ride-hailing services like Uber to produce the merchandise to shoppers' homes because it expands its service.

Shoppers pay a set amount of $9.95 but you are forced to spend as a minimum $30 per order.

Walmart Inc. has additionally testing a site utilizing its U.S. store workers to drop off general merchandise like toys and bedding to customers' homes as they finish work.

Ward noted that Walmart is gaining knowledge through its delivery services such countries as China as well as United Kingdom.

Amazon's acquisition of Whole-foods market Market this past year has raised the stakes in the highly competitive grocery delivery wars. Amazon recently added free two-hour Whole-foods market delivery to six cities, including Atlanta, Dallas and Cincinnati due to its Prime members who pay $99 annually.

Meanwhile, grocery startup Instacart is expanding its roster of clients including B.J.'s and Kroger.

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

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Follow Anne D'Innocenzio at http://www.Twitter.com/adinnocenzio

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