Walmart fights back against Amazon with one-day shipping in some US markets

Walmart’s one-day shipping marks the latest salvo in a fight between two retailers that have consistently tried to outdo each other. (Reuters)
Updated 14 May 2019
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Walmart fights back against Amazon with one-day shipping in some US markets

  • The Walmart deal will be available to online shoppers in Phoenix and Las Vegas and then expand to Southern California in the coming days
  • The service will be rolled out gradually, with a plan to reach approximately 75 percent of the US population this year

WASHINGTON: Walmart is stepping up its battle with Amazon.com by offering one-day delivery without a shipping fee, weeks after Amazon announced a similar offer — a move that will intensify the race to deliver orders to shoppers faster.
On April 25, Amazon said it plans to deliver packages to members of its loyalty club Prime in just one day and expects to spend $800 million toward the shipping goal in the second quarter alone.
Walmart’s offer applies to fewer products. As many as 220,000 items, which are the most frequently purchased, ranging from laundry detergent to toys and electronics will qualify for one-day shipping. The orders have to be worth at least $35 to qualify.
The Walmart deal will be available to online shoppers in Phoenix and Las Vegas and then expand to Southern California in the coming days, the head of its US ecommerce service, Marc Lore, told Reuters in an interview.
The service will be rolled out gradually, with a plan to reach approximately 75 percent of the US population this year, which includes 40 of the top 50 US metro areas, Lore said.
One-day shipping marks the latest salvo in a fight between two retailers that have consistently tried to outdo each other in everything from online order delivery to grabbing a bigger share of the online grocery market. Walmart started offering same-day pickup in its stores in 2011 and caught up with Amazon’s two-day free shipping two years ago by offering it without a membership fee. It has made progress in closing the gap with its e-commerce rival by rolling out services such as curbside grocery pickup and same-day grocery delivery — options that have quickly become popular with shoppers.
Amazon, on the other hand, has hastened to reproduce the assets of brick-and-mortar rivals such as Walmart and has a mixed record with those projects. It is now racing to open shops with top-selling items ranging from books to cell phones; rolling out same-day curbside grocery pickup and gearing up to accept returns at all US Kohls Corp. department stores.
“We have been working on this since I have gotten here ... we have been building out the infrastructure for the last few years to support this,” said Lore, who joined the retailer in 2016 when it acquired his company, Jet.com.
The vast majority of the order volume for such a service comes from the “first couple of hundred thousand” products, he said.
The move will cost Walmart less as orders will be delivered from warehouses closer to the customer and arrive in a single box instead of multiple packages, Lore said.
“It is counter-intuitive... but the way we have structured our network, we will see improved profitability as a result of lower shipping cost,” he said.
Walmart sends out boxes from multiple warehouses around the country under its two-day shipping program, but with one-day shipping, it is stocking inventory in the closest single warehouse to the shopper, Lore said.


British Airways to resume Pakistan flights next week after a decade

Updated 23 May 2019
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British Airways to resume Pakistan flights next week after a decade

  • BA halted service to Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad
  • BA will begin the London Heathrow-Islamabad service with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

ISLAMABAD: British Airways will resume flights to Pakistan next week a decade after it suspended operations following a major hotel bombing, becoming the first Western airline to restart flights to the South Asian country.

BA halted service to Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in the capital Islamabad that took place during a period of devastating Islamist militant violence in Pakistan.

Security has since improved, with militant attacks sharply down in the mainly Muslim country of 208 million people, reviving Pakistan as a destination for tourist and investors.

“The final touches are coming together for the airline’s return ahead of the first flight on Sunday June 2,” British Airways said in a statement. It will launch a three-per-week service to London Heathrow, it said.

“We’re on board,” Pakistani Civil Aviation spokeswoman Farah Hussain said about the flights resumption.

BA, which is owned by Spanish-registered IAG, will begin the London Heathrow-Islamabad service with the airline’s newest long-haul aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

At present, only loss-making national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flies directly from Pakistan to Britain, but its ageing fleet of planes is a frequent source of complaints by passengers.

Middle Eastern carriers Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates have a strong presence in Pakistan and have been eating into PIA’s dwindling market share. Turkish Airlines also lays on a regular service to Pakistan.

Islamabad has been running international advertising campaigns to rejuvenate its tourism sector, which was wiped out by Islamist violence that destabilised the country following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States and the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

“We hope customers in both the UK and Pakistan will enjoy the classically British service we offer, with thoughtful bespoke touches,” Andrew Brem, Chief Commercial Officer at British Airways, said in BA’s statement.

BA said there will be a halal meal option in every cabin and the airline would also ensure sauces in every meal do not contain alcohol or pork.