Albertson's Adds to Online Operations

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Supermarket chain Albertson's Inc. yesterday expanded its online grocery operation into the San Diego market.


The entrance into the California market comes two years after the Boise, ID-based company began its online offering in Seattle. The online grocery-shopping sector has narrowed as companies such as Webvan have folded after failing to turn a profit. Webvan closed in early July after Homegrocer.com and Groceryworks.com failed largely because of fulfillment expenses.


The most enduring online grocer is Peapod, which packs orders from stores owned by its parent company, Dutch food conglomerate Royal Ahold. Other online grocers include Netgrocer.com, Safeway and Publix Super Markets, which began delivering orders in September in Miami.


Albertson's said that unlike the failed online grocers, it believes that its "click-and-mortar" strategy will build upon its retail capabilities in a cost-effective way.


Albertson's customers can order any item by going to www.Albertsons.com and have their orders delivered within 90 minutes. They can also choose to pick up their orders at any of the 38 stores in San Diego County. Orders placed by 10 a.m. will be available for pickup after 5 p.m. Orders placed by midnight will be delivered or available for pick up the next day. The cost is $9.95 for delivery and $5.95 for pickup.


Albertson's operates more than 2,500 retail stores in 36 states.


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