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Amazon continues to ramp up Whole Foods Market grocery delivery

BY Marianne Wilson

Amazon has expanded Whole Foods Market grocery deliveries through Prime Now to another major metro market.

The online giant on Tuesday said it has launched free two-hour delivery from Whole Foods through Prime Now in Los Angeles. Prime members across greater Los Angeles and Orange County — along the coast from Santa Monica to San Clemente, Pasadena to the North and Yorba Linda to the East — are now eligible for the service. Prime members receive two-hour delivery for free and ultra-fast delivery within one hour for $7.99 on orders of $35 or more.

“We’ve been delighted with the customer response to free two-hour delivery through Prime Now, and we’re excited to bring the service to our Los Angeles area customers,” said Christina Minardi, Whole Foods Market executive VP of operations.

The service first launched in February 2018 and is now available in seven cities with plans for continued expansion across the U.S. throughout the rest of the year.

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Walmart in major expansion of grocery delivery

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart has brought in a new partner to help it expand its delivery of online grocery orders.

The discounter announced it is teaming up with on-demand delivery service Postmates to help expand Walmart online grocery deliveries to more than 40% of U.S. homes. The initiative will start in Charlotte, North Carolina, and expand in the coming months. It comes on the heels of a previous announcement by Walmart that it plans to expand its grocery delivery business across the U.S. in 2018, going from six metro areas to 100 during that time.

Under the agreement with Postmates, after orders have been picked by Walmart’s personal shoppers, a Postmates courier retrieves the order from a Walmart store and delivers it to the customer during their specified delivery window. (Groceries can be delivered same-day.) There is a $30 minimum order threshold, and a $9.95 fee for the delivery services — with no subscription fee. The first order will be free with a $50 minimum and a special code.

“Both Walmart and Postmates strive to make the lives of our customers easier,” said Dan Mosher, senior VP, merchant lead, Postmates. “With our growing fleet of 160,000 couriers, we are confident that we’ll be providing Walmart customers with the ultimate convenience.”

Postmates is not Walmart’s only delivery partner. Uber and Deliv have been helping Walmart test deliveries in select markets, including Dallas, Denver, Orlando, Phoenix, Tampa and San Jose.

In addition, Walmart offers a free service at 1,200 stores that allows customers to order online and pick up their groceries curbside. The service will be expanded to another 1,000 stores this year.

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Supermarket giant in big hiring push

BY Marianne Wilson

The Kroger Co. is going on a hiring blitz.

The company is looking to fill 11,000 positions in its supermarket division, including almost 2,000 management jobs. Kroger said it created 10,000 new jobs in 2017 and 12,000 in 2016, not including jobs created as a result of capital investment, such as temporary construction jobs, or increases as a result the company’s mergers.

In addition, Kroger is investing an incremental $500 million in associate wages, training and development during the next three years. The company noted that last month in Cincinnati, Kroger associates ratified a labor agreement with the UFCW 75 that set the stage for starting wage and overall wage increases in multiple markets across the country. The agreement raised starting wages to at least $10 per hour, and accelerated wage progressions to $11 an hour after one year of service, for associates in the Cincinnati/Dayton division.

As previously announced, Kroger has also committed to invest a significant portion of the tax benefit it received from the recent tax act in its employees’ future. The company plans to announce the details of the program this month.

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