21 February 2018 0 Comments Posted By : Hollie Shaw

Walmart courts urban Vancouver customers with launch of fresh grocery delivery service

TORONTO — Walmart Canada Corp. is ramping up its food selling business in the West with the launch of online fresh grocery delivery in Vancouver as supermarkets across the country step up their fight against Amazon.com Inc.

Walmart, which began delivering groceries to residents in the Toronto area last year, announced Wednesday that it will launch fresh grocery delivery in Vancouver this summer through the service Food-X Urban Delivery Inc.

While Canada’s biggest supermarket chains have hastened and mobilized their online strategies in the wake of Amazon’s Whole Foods purchase last August, Walmart’s deal with Food-X gives the big-box retailer access to a group of urban consumers that it’s eager to court.

The new deal will “unlock a part of the city where we don’t have stores today, and where grocery prices are extremely inflated,” Lee Tappenden, CEO of Walmart Canada, said in an interview.

In the past, Walmart has had difficulty opening stores in core city areas such as Toronto’s Kensington Market, where in 2014 the retailer’s developer dropped a proposal to open a store following a vocal community outcry. But delivering fresh groceries to online ordering pickup depots in such neighbourhoods or delivering directly to consumers’ homes is a way to access customers in hard-to-reach areas.

“We are challenging ourselves to think of new and innovative ways to open up areas of the country where we are not currently strong in terms of store presence,” Tappenden explained, adding servicing “very dense, downtown urban areas such as Vancouver requires a different model.” Shipping fees have not been set and will be announced closer to the launch this summer.

Walmart currently delivers fresh groceries in Toronto and the surrounding area. It also offers free pickup of online fresh grocery orders outside its stores, as it does in Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton.


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