Wal-Mart expands e-grocery options to two more U.S. markets and invests in Canada
February 13, 2015 12:27 PM
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. waded a little deeper into the online grocery market this week, giving consumers in two more markets the ability to order groceries online and pick them up curbside at no additional cost.
Walmart Grocery (formerly called Walmart To Go) is newly available at three stores in the Phoenix area and at two stores in the Huntsville, AL, area. A third store in Huntsville will offer online grocery ordering soon, a Walmart spokesman says.
The expansion brings the total number of test markets for Walmart Grocery to five. The others are San Jose, CA; Denver; and Bentonville, AR, where Wal-Mart is based. In Denver, consumers have the option to have orders delivered to their homes for a fee or pick them up at the store for free. Wal-Mart says the prices for goods ordered online are identical to what consumers would pay if they shopped at that local store. Wal-Mart launched online grocery sales in 2011 in San Jose.
Wal-Mart this week separately announced it is investing C$35 million ($28.1 million) to expand and improve Walmart.ca, its e-retail site for Canada. It did not provide details on how that money will be spent. It is investing a further C$75 million ($60.3 million) to build additional distribution centers to expand its fresh food and e-commerce capacity in Canada. Wal-Mart has not finalized where those centers will be. Walmart.ca gets about 400,000 daily visitors, according to the company.
Canadian shoppers were expected to spend C$22.3 billion ($19.8 billion) with online retailers last year, according to Forrester Research estimates. That spending is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.3% through 2019. Web sales currently account for approximately 6% of total retail spending in Canada; it is expected to account for 10% of retail spending by 2019.
Wal-Mart said in October that it will spend approximately $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion on e-commerce and digital initiatives during its 2016 fiscal year, which started at the end of January. It will report full-year 2015 results next week, but has said it expects to close the year with $12.5 billion in e-commerce sales globally.
Wal-Mart is the fourth-largest e-retailer in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, which ranks e-retailers by their web sales in North America. Wal-Mart and its subsidiary holdings also rank highly in other regions of the world. It is No. 4 in Latin America, No. 8 in Asia and No. 11 in Europe.