Walmart doesn't have stores in New York City, but it's looking to deliver same-day service to residents.
The company said Tuesday that it has acquired delivery service Parcel, which has a warehouse in Brooklyn and has learned to deftly navigate densely populated areas and get groceries to customers fast. That last leg is key for all retailers as the ability to deliver quickly and at a low cost brings tremendous advantages in fending off competitors like Amazon.com.
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The announcement came just a few days after Jet.com, the online retailer Walmart bought last year for more than $3 billion, introduced higher-end, online groceries under a private brand that are aimed at younger urbanites. Parcel will deliver fresh and frozen groceries from Walmart and Jet.com, as well as general merchandise.
Walmart's focus on fast, local delivery shows how priorities have shifted for major retailers as they travel to shoppers' homes, rather than the other way around. The competition may well intensify now that Amazon has taken over Whole Foods.
Nate Faust, senior vice president of Walmart's U.S. eCommerce supply chain, said in a company release that Parcel already has partnerships with several meal kit, grocery and e-commerce companies, and has delivered more than 1 million meals in the past two years. Walmart plans to expand that base.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is not saying how much it paid for Parcel, other than that it was smaller than a number of acquisitions it's made in the past year. The transaction closed on Friday. Since buying Jet.com, Walmart has bought clothing seller ModCloth, footwear retailer ShoeBuy.com and outdoor gear seller Moosejaw as it focuses on brands appealing to younger shoppers.