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Walmart Matches Amazon With One-Day Shipping on Many Items

Walmart Matches Amazon With One-Day Shipping on Many Items

Walmart said this policy will actually cost the company less, since the items will typically come in just one box from a single warehouse that’s closest to the customer.

Walmart Inc. wants to one-up Amazon.com Inc. in the fight for online shoppers.

The world’s largest retailer is rolling out a next-day delivery service to counter Amazon’s recent move to speed shipment times for top customers to just one day from two.

Starting May 14, Walmart customers in Phoenix and Las Vegas who buy at least $35 worth of goods will get free one-day shipping. The offer, which Walmart had hinted was in the works and will be applied to as many as 220,000 items, will extend to Southern California in the coming days and will reach about three-quarters of the U.S. by the end of the year.

Unlike Amazon, which will spend $800 million this quarter to reduce delivery times, Walmart said its shift will actually cost the company less, since the items will typically come in just one box from a single warehouse that’s closest to the customer. Keeping a tight lid on expenses is paramount for Walmart, whose domestic e-commerce business isn’t profitable. The operation is forecast to lose more this year than it did in 2018.

“Anytime someone shops next day, it is guaranteed to cost us a lot less to ship,” Marc Lore, Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce chief, said in an interview. “We are not paying the carriers any more. That’s in contrast to online orders that come in multiple boxes from multiple locations, which can be quite costly.”

Lore declined to say whether the expected savings could help the online business get out of the red faster. Shares of Walmart, which is scheduled to report first-quarter results Thursday, rose as much as 1% in New York on Tuesday, while Amazon was up as much as 1.6%.

Items Available

The next-day shipping applies to a broad range of merchandise -- up to twice the number of items found in a typical Walmart supercenter -- and include Bounty paper towels, Gentle Giants dog food and store-branded diapers. Unlike Amazon’s one-day delivery, which is available for its Prime customers who pay an annual fee of $119, Walmart’s service will be available for most shoppers without a membership fee.

“The Walmart offer is affordable for consumers and Walmart alike,” Brandon Fletcher, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein, said in a note Tuesday. “This will just affirm Walmart’s survival for investors.”

Walmart’s goal of reaching three quarters of the U.S. would put it on par with Amazon, which can deliver at least next-day service to 72% of the U.S. population, according to a March note from RBC Capital Markets.

Amazon responded to the news in a tweet, contending that shoppers “know the difference” between its services and those of unnamed rivals.

Walmart Inc. wants to one-up Amazon.com Inc. in the fight for online shoppers.

The world’s largest retailer is rolling out a next-day delivery service to counter Amazon’s recent move to speed shipment times for top customers to just one day from two.

Starting Tuesday, Walmart customers in Phoenix and Las Vegas who buy at least $35 worth of goods will get free one-day shipping. The offer, which Walmart had hinted was in the works and will be applied to as many as 220,000 items, will extend to Southern California in the coming days and will reach about three-quarters of the U.S. by the end of the year.

Unlike Amazon, which will spend $800 million this quarter to reduce delivery times, Walmart said its shift will actually cost the company less, since the items will typically come in just one box from a single warehouse that’s closest to the customer. Keeping a tight lid on expenses is paramount for Walmart, whose domestic e-commerce business isn’t profitable. The operation is forecast to lose more this year than it did in 2018.

“Anytime someone shops next day, it is guaranteed to cost us a lot less to ship,” Marc Lore, Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce chief, said in an interview. “We are not paying the carriers any more. That’s in contrast to online orders that come in multiple boxes from multiple locations, which can be quite costly.”

Lore declined to say whether the expected savings could help the online business get out of the red faster. Shares of Walmart, which is scheduled to report first-quarter results Thursday, rose as much as 1% in New York on Tuesday, while Amazon was up as much as 1.6%.

Items Available

The next-day shipping applies to a broad range of merchandise -- up to twice the number of items found in a typical Walmart supercenter -- and include Bounty paper towels, Gentle Giants dog food and store-branded diapers. Unlike Amazon’s one-day delivery, which is available for its Prime customers who pay an annual fee of $119, Walmart’s service will be available for most shoppers without a membership fee.

“The Walmart offer is affordable for consumers and Walmart alike,” Brandon Fletcher, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein, said in a note Tuesday. “This will just affirm Walmart’s survival for investors.”

Walmart’s goal of reaching three quarters of the U.S. would put it on par with Amazon, which can deliver at least next-day service to 72% of the U.S. population, according to a March note from RBC Capital Markets.

Amazon responded to the news in a tweet, contending that shoppers “know the difference” between its services and those of unnamed rivals.

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