Same-Day Delivery from Walmart?

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Wal-Mart is testing out same-day delivery in some cities, says The New York Times:

If Wal-Mart expanded its same-day shipping across the country, it could essentially transform the more than 4,000 Walmarts, along with Sam’s Club and other divisions, into distribution centers. Amazon, by contrast, had fewer than 40 distribution centers in the United States at the end of last year and has plans to add about 20 worldwide this year.

“Everybody in retail is terrified of Amazon, and they’re terrified of losing more wallet share to Amazon,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst with Forrester Research. The Wal-Mart move is “to try to get ahead of the curve if Amazon does introduce something like this.”

Wal-Mart and Amazon once operated in separate spheres — Wal-Mart’s offline, Amazon’s online. And Amazon’s sales, at $48 billion in 2011, are more than a tenth of Wal-Mart’s, which were $419 billion in 2011. But increasingly, they are competing for the same customer and the same turf.

For now, the test is running in Philadelphia, Minneapolis, San Jose, San Francisco, and in Northern Virginia. Same-day delivery items include toys, sports equipment, and electronics.

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