Walmart testing store employee delivery of US online orders

CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, The Associated Press

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — In its latest effort to compete with online giant Amazon, Walmart is testing a delivery service using its own store employees, who will deliver packages ordered online while driving home from their regular work shifts.
The "associate delivery" program would use Walmart's 4,700 U.S. stores and roughly 1.2 million employees to speed delivery and cut costs, the company said Thursday. The announcement came just a day before the company's annual meeting.
The world's largest retailer says workers can choose to participate and would be paid. The service is being tested at two stores in New Jersey and one in Arkansas.
Walmart has stores within 10 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population, the company says.
"Now imagine all the routes our associates drive to and from work and the houses they pass along the way," Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart's U.S. online operations, wrote on the company website.
Ravi Jariwala, a Walmart spokesman, said all those employees driving home represent a "very dense web" of potential delivery locations for the company.
Employees who want to participate will be able to use an app to specify how many packages they are willing to deliver, Jariwala said, as well as the weight and size limits on the packages. Jariwala would not provide details about how workers would be paid, but said the company would comply with all federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws.
"This is completely an opt-in program," he said Thursday. "This is not something they are required to do."

FILE - In an  Aug. 26, 2016 file photo, people walk in and out of a Walmart store, in Dallas. Walmart is testing a delivery service using its own store employees, who will deliver packages ordered online while driving home from their regular work shifts. The world's largest retailer says workers can choose to participate and would be paid. The service is being tested at two stores in New Jersey and one in Arkansas.  (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)