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Walmart To Roll Out Next-day Delivery, Taking On Amazon

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Walmart Inc. (WMT) said Tuesday that it will introduce Next-Day delivery on a wide range of general merchandise from Walmart.com, without a membership fee.

The retail giant's announcement comes after rival Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) announced in April that it will introduce free-one day shipping for Amazon Prime members.

In a blog post, Walmart noted that Next-Day delivery will first be available to Walmart.com customers in Phoenix as well as Las Vegas, and will expand to Southern California in the coming days.

The service will roll out gradually over the coming months, with a plan to reach about 75 percent of the U.S. population this year, including 40 of the top 50 major U.S. metro areas.

Amazon.com said in late April that it plans to offer free one-day shipping as the default for Amazon Prime members, instead of the free two-day Prime shipping offered currently. The company will spend $800 million to improve its delivery infrastructure to make this possible.

According to Walmart, customers can browse up to 220,000 of the most frequently purchased items for Next-Day Delivery offers, ranging from diapers and laundry detergent to toys and electronics. The company said it will add more products.

The offer is available for orders of $35 or more, with the specific assortment varying by customer location.

Customers can visit the Walmart website and view items that are eligible for free Next-Day delivery. After adding items to their cart, they can proceed to checkout.

However, all items in the cart must be eligible for Next-Day delivery to qualify. Walmart noted that cut-off times will vary by location.

Walmart noted that the Next-Day delivery will cost it less, and not more, to deliver orders the next day, as eligible items will come from a single fulfilment center located closest to the customer.

The order will ship in one box, or as few as possible, and travel a shorter distance via inexpensive ground shipping. In contrast, online orders that come in multiple boxes from multiple locations can be quite costly.

Walmart introduced same-day pickup in its stores in 2011 and began offering two-day free shipping two years ago with no membership fee.

The company said Tuesday that it is on track to offer grocery pickup from 3,100 stores and same-day grocery delivery from 1,600 stores by year-end, providing coverage to about 80 percent and 50 percent of the U.S. population, respectively.

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