Walmart said Tuesday that Parcel, with a warehouse in Brooklyn, has learned to deftly navigate densely populated areas and get groceries to customers fast. That last leg is key for all retailers in a transformed landscape where the ability to deliver at speed and with low costs brings tremendous advantages in fending off competitors like Amazon.com.
The announcement comes just a few days after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. introduced higher-end, online groceries that are aimed at younger urbanites. Parcel will deliver fresh and frozen groceries from Walmart and its company, Jet.com, as well as general merchandise. Walmart purchased online retailer Jet for more than $3 billion last year.
Walmart’s focus on fast, local delivery shows how priorities have shifted for major retailers as they travel to shoppers’ homes, rather than the other way around.
Nate Faust, senior vice president of Walmart’s U.S. eCommerce supply chain, said in a company release that Parcel already has partnerships with several meal kit, grocery and e-commerce companies, and has delivered more than 1 million meals in the past two years. Walmart plans to grow that base.
Walmart is not saying how much it paid for Parcel, other than that it was smaller than a number of acquisitions it’s made in the past year. The transaction closed on Friday.