US 60 second update: the latest initiatives from Walmart, Kroger and Albertsons

Stewart Samuel
Program Director - Canada
@RetailAnalysis

Date : 17 August 2020

We look at some of the latest initiatives from the major US grocery retailers, Walmart, Kroger and Albertsons. 

Walmart is partnering with Instacart for on-demand deliveries

Walmart has partnered with the leading on-demand, crowd-sourced delivery company, Instacart, to offer online grocery deliveries in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Instacart joins a roster of delivery companies that the retailer is working with to offer delivery in as little as two hours. Walmart has been working with Instacart through its Sam’s Club business since 2018, while Walmart Canada partnered with the delivery company last year.

Instacart works with all of Walmart’s competitors, including Costco, Kroger and Albertsons. It has experienced significant growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently the business was valued at $13.7bn as part of a new financing round.

Through partnering with the company, Walmart can tap into a national distribution network. It currently works with more than 400 retailers, operating from a network of over 30,000 stores in the US and Canada. The service is currently accessible to more than 85% of households in the US and more than 70% of households in Canada. This will help further the retailer’s ambition to create the world’s leading omnichannel business.

Kroger expanding online assortment with third-party marketplace

Kroger is expanding the Kroger Ship programme to offer an extended ship-to-home range of products. Partnering with Mirakl, it will create a marketplace for third-party sellers. This will enable many suppliers to sell for the first time on Kroger.com. Two years ago, Kroger Ship was launched to offer customer an extended range of products for direct-to-home delivery. As part of the new programme, more than 50,000 additional items will be available to customers across several categories, including natural and organic, international food, specialty items, housewares and toys.

This expansion comes as the retailer continues to see elevated demand for its online grocery service. During the first quarter, digital sales increased 92%. This development will support improved channel profitability in addition to broadening customer choice. In addition to the major marketplaces operated by Amazon and Walmart, Albertsons also operates a similar model, focusing on specialty food items.

Source: Kroger

Albertsons partnering for vertical-farming

Albertsons is partnering with San Francisco-based, vertical farming company, Plenty, to provide shoppers with fresh produce in more than 400 stores. Plenty is currently available in selected Safeway and Andronicos locations in the San Francisco area. The retailer plans to expand to additional stores in California, including Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions banners, as supply increases. Stores plan to carry four Plenty products initially, including baby arugula, baby kale, crispy lettuce and mizuna mix.

Indoor vertical farming is a key trend in the retail sector. In the US, Kroger has partnered with Infarm, one of the leading companies in this space, while Texas-based HEB has partnered with Growtainer to offer vertical farming within the retailer’s Central Market format stores. This aligns with the growing demand for locally sourced products and those which have lower environmental impact. They can also be used to create a point of interest within the fresh produce department.

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