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Walmart Inc. plans to make grocery delivery available to shoppers in parts of New York City, a market that the world’s biggest retailer has struggled to crack over the years.
Starting late Tuesday, Walmart groceries will be available for delivery in parts of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx through Instacart Inc., a company that charges a fee to send gig workers to purchase items at stores and deliver them.
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Walmart has no physical stores in New York City. Instacart shoppers will buy groceries at Walmart stores outside the city’s limits, then deliver those items to nearby homes, the companies said. The service won’t be available on the island of Manhattan.
Walmart has worked to expand its grocery-delivery and store-parking-lot-pickup capabilities during the pandemic, as demand for such services has surged and the company has tried to keep pace with Amazon.com Inc.
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Last year Walmart formed a partnership with Instacart to deliver groceries in a small number of cities in California, as well as in Tulsa, Okla. Walmart also works with other delivery partners, including DoorDash Inc. and Roadie Inc. With those companies, Walmart workers gather orders, then hand off shopping bags to delivery drivers.
Walmart and Instacart are also competitors. Instacart delivers groceries for Walmart rivals including Costco Wholesale Corp. , Aldi and Target Corp. Walmart also has its own network of independent delivery drivers and last week opened it up to other businesses. Meanwhile, Target is working to expand Shipt, a similar delivery service it owns.
"It’s a dynamic space that’s big enough for multiple providers and multiple business models," said a Walmart spokeswoman. "Obviously, the pandemic accelerated things very fast."
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Walmart and Instacart decided to expand their grocery-delivery partnership to the New York metro area after tests in other urban areas attracted new shoppers, the Walmart spokeswoman said. Walmart is using Instacart "where stores aren’t as dense," she said. "It’s about reaching more customers."
An Instacart spokeswoman said the company has expanded its technology and operations to enable longer-distance deliveries, "making it possible for retailers to reach and deliver to customers who live further away from existing bricks-and-mortar stores."
Around 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store, and walmart.com ships products nationwide. But in New York City, Walmart has failed to build a significant foothold for more than a decade, first with stores, then later with same-day delivery services.
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Walmart offered grocery delivery in New York City through its Jet.com until it halted the service in 2019. It started JetBlack, a high-end fast-delivery service in Manhattan, before scrapping it in 2020.
Write to Sarah Nassauer at [email protected]
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