Amazon Reportedly Using Hybrid MFC Approach in New Grocery Store

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon is reportedly using a micro-fulfillment center solution from Dematic at its first grocery store not named Whole Foods outside Los Angeles, sending a loud signal to the rest of the market that an MFC capability is critical to success and maintaining market share in the red-hot e-grocery sector.

E-Grocery, Ecommerce Bright Spots In Walmart’s Q4

| Douglas P. Clement

Softer-than-expected holiday sales drove Walmart’s Q4 2019 earnings below expectations, but strong ecommerce and online grocery sales provided buoyancy and optimism for the year ahead. U.S. ecommerce sales grew 35%, fueled largely by grocery pickup and delivery, propelling walmart.com to its highest quarterly growth of the year.

Peapod Shuts Down Midwest Operation to Focus on East Coast

| Mike O'Brien

Ahold Delhaize USA said it plans to close the Midwest division of its Peapod online grocery delivery business to focus on expanding operations in the more lucrative East Coast, where most of its stores are located. Dutch-based Ahold said the Midwest operation of Peapod represented $97 million of the $1.1 billion in online sales in the U.S.

E-Grocery Penetration Expected to Hit Double Digits by 2024

| Mike O'Brien

E-grocery penetration in the U.S. reached 4.5% of the overall food/beverage market in 2019, according to figures from Deutsche Bank cited by e-fulfillment technology provider Fabric, after hovering around 2% for years. It’s expected to exceed 10% by 2024 and hit 12% the following year.

Grocery Sector Outpaces Ecommerce in Major Warehouse Lease Deals

| Mike O'Brien

Fueled by continued growth in e-grocery and the sector overall, food and beverage saw more growth in terms of major warehouse leases in 2019 than did ecommerce, which slipped a bit, according to a report from CBRE on the 100 largest deals. The number of 3PL deals stayed the same, while the square footage dropped from 2018.

Walmart Expands Use of Scanning Robots, Launches MFC for Grocery

| Mike O'Brien

Walmart is expanding its fleet of shelf-scanning robots, adding 650 this year for a total of 1,000 as it looks to address nettlesome grocery out-of-stock issues and battle competitors with the technology like Ahold Delhaize’s Stop & Shop, Giant Eagle and Schnuck’s. It has also launched a micro fulfillment center at a New Hampshire store.

Walmart Testing Autonomous Grocery Delivery in Houston

| Mike O'Brien

Walmart is testing autonomous grocery delivery in Houston with robotics partner Nuro to a select group of shoppers that opt into the pilot program, the company announced. The test will involve Nuro’s R2 robotic vehicle as well as some autonomous Toyota Priuses, also powered by Nuro’s technology.

Walmart Shuts Down Fresh Grocery Delivery Via Jet.com in New York

| Mike O'Brien

Fourteen months after introducing same-day grocery delivery in New York, Walmart has shut down fresh grocery delivery through Jet.com as the operation had stumbled badly, according to Bloomberg, including price increases to offset an estimated $20 loss per delivery. Jet will continue to delivery non-perishable items in New York.

Omnichannel Performance of Grocery Retailers a Mixed Bag in Report

| Mike O'Brien

With an omnichannel approach becoming ever more prevalent in the grocery industry, a new report found grocery retailers excelling in some areas while needing a bit of improvement in others. That’s according to a new omnichannel readiness benchmarking report from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and FitForCommerce.

Amazon Counters Walmart with Free Same-Day Grocery Delivery for Prime

| Mike O'Brien

Amazon waited an entire month to swing back at Walmart’s new same-day grocery delivery program, making delivery from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods free for Prime members by eliminating the $14.99/month charge on $35 and up orders. It’s available in 2,000 cities and towns, mostly through Amazon’s 480 Whole Foods stores.