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Amazon to roll out delivery at Whole Foods; Target partner expands service to DFW

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NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is bringing its speedy delivery to Whole Foods.

The online retail giant plans to roll out two-hour delivery at the organic grocer this year to those who pay for Amazon’s $99-a-year Prime membership. It is the company’s biggest — and most expected — move since it bought the organic grocer last year.

Right after taking over Whole Foods, Amazon made a splash by cutting prices on bananas, yogurt and other items. It also began selling Kindle e-readers in some of its 470 stores, and started selling Whole Foods-branded food on its site.

But rivals have been preparing for the day Amazon would expand grocery delivery at Whole Foods.

Walmart, the country’s largest grocer, is making it easier for customers to order groceries online and pick them up at the store. Target bought grocery-delivery company Shipt late last year. Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket chain, has been promoting store pickup for online orders and doing trials of home delivery.

In fact, Shipt and Target Corp. also announced Feb. 8, that they too will begin offering same-day delivery of more than 55,000 groceries, essentials, home, electronics, toys and other products across twelve Southwest cities, including the Dallas, Fort Worth area.

“Same-day delivery was at the top of our list when we were thinking about ways to make shopping at Target even easier,” John Mulligan, Target executive VP and COO, said in a news release. “Shipt’s personalized, customer-focused approach fits perfectly with our commitment to deliver a convenient, exceptional experience and we’re excited to begin offering same-day service in the Southwest.”

According to the release, beginning Feb. 15, Shipt will deliver from Target stores in the following metro areas:

Texas: Austin, College Station, Corpus Christi, Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, greater Houston, Killeen, Temple, and greater San Antonio

Arizona: Phoenix metropolitan area

Oklahoma: Oklahoma City, Tulsa

Amazon offers free two-hour delivery through Prime Now from select Whole Foods Market stores, including the new Fort Worth store. The company says customers can go to www.primenow.com or download the Prime Now app, to enter their zip code to determine if they are in the delivery area. Customers who are not in the current delivery area can sign-up to be notified when the service is available in their area.

One of the biggest hurdles for the growth of grocery delivery is that many people want to pick out their own eggs or fruit, said Darren Seifer, a food and beverage industry analyst at NPD Group.

“There are always going to be people who want their bananas a little green,” he said.

Amazon.com Inc. said deliveries started Thursday in Austin, Texas; Cincinnati; Dallas; and Virginia Beach, Virginia. The service will expand nationwide this year.

Shoppers will be able to order meat, seafood and other grocery items through Amazon’s Prime Now app and website. Items will be pulled from Whole Foods stores, bagged and then delivered by Amazon drivers. Amazon, based in Seattle, said there’s no extra fee for two-hour deliveries above $35, but one-hour delivery will cost $8.

Whole Foods already offers delivery in some cities through a partnership with delivery service Instacart, which will continue. – FWBP Staff contributed to this report.

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