Walmart rolls out unlimited grocery delivery subscription

By RetailFOXBusiness

Walmart delivery subscription: Is in-store grocery shopping a thing of the past?

Stew Leonard Jr., CEO of Stew Leonard's, defends the longevity of retail and credits his success to constant innovation.

Walmart is looking to get a leg up in the fresh food business.

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The giant retailer is rolling out an unlimited grocery delivery subscription service this fall.

The service will charge an annual membership fee of $98 for subscribers to access unlimited same-day delivery.

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The service will be made available in 1,400 stores in 200 markets. By year-end, it will extend to a total of 1,600 stores — or more than 50 percent of the country.

The move allows the nation's largest grocer to further tap into time-starved shoppers looking for convenience at a time when Walmart is looking for edge as it competes with Amazon and others to expand fresh-food delivery — one of the fastest growing e-commerce sectors.

"We know this level of convenience resonates" with our customers, said Tom Ward, senior vice president of digital operations at Walmart U.S. "If you need milk, bananas and birthday presents, this is a fantastic solution."

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The grocery services will be fulfilled by local stores and require a minimum order of $30. With same-day delivery, there's a four-hour minimum wait time between placing order and having it delivered.

Shoppers can also order online and pick them up at their local store or curbside for free.

About 100,000 items, which include fresh food and pantry staples as well as select general merchandise like lightbulbs and basic toys, qualify for both grocery pickup and delivery.

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Walmart will also offer a monthly subscription option for $12.95; customers will still be able to pay a per-delivery fee of $7.95 or $9.95 for same-day delivery if they decide against the subscription service.

About two years ago, its key rival Amazon purchased Whole Food Market Inc. and now is offering same-day grocery delivery in various cities. Meanwhile, AmazonFresh costs $14.99 a month and is available to Amazon Prime customers, who pay an annual membership fee of $119, in select cities.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.