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RETAIL NEWS

Walmart, Postmates partner to expand 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 United States in 2018, going from six metro areas to 100 during that time.Under the agreement with Postmates, after grocery delivery 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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Kroger to grow its employee base

BY Marianne Wilson

Kroger is in the middle of 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 of 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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Digital Disruption Innovation Summit offers Walgreens online strategy suggestions

BY Seth Mendelson

More than 150 manufacturers joined more than five dozen Walgreens executives and buyers at the Digital Disruption Innovation Summit in Schaumburg, Ill. to discuss opportunities to help the drug store chain continue to build its online digital business.

The executives met at the one-day conference, presented by Drug Store News and Mack Elevation, to learn more about what is happening in the digital arena and to develop approaches together to help build sales in that space, while still maintaining a strong brick-and-mortar approach.

“This is not a moment to panic, but it is a moment to be prepared,” said Joe Hartsig, senior vice president and chief merchandising officer for Walgreens as he discussed the company’s digital strategies. “We are doing a lot of work in this arena and we are running fast. But we are also humbled because we know we can do so much more.”

DSN publisher Eric Savitch added: “It is an honor for DSN to be involved, along with Dan Mack and Mack Elevation, to bring these suppliers together with key Walgreens officials. We are proud to be the conduit that helps all these players learn more about each other and what they can do to help build digital sales today and in the future.”

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