[Update at 0400 on 18 April: The Motley Fool weighs in on the service, and points to the costs:
Wal-Mart's efforts to widen its moat against Amazon are admirable, but they're also expensive. The company invested nearly $1.3 billion in e-commerce expansion in fiscal 2016, up from $1 billion in 2015. It spent another $1.2 billion during the year on wage hikes and the introduction of new associate training and educational programs. Wal-Mart expects these expenses to cause its earnings to drop 6% to 12% this year.
You do need to spend money to make money. The question is: how much is too much for too little?] So, this morning two headlines caught my eye. The first, from Convenience Store News reads Walmart Pickup Service Expands to 30-City Footprint. The second, from Reuters tell us that Exclusive: Wal-Mart expands online grocery pickup to eight more cities. We already know that Walmart understands that e-commerce is critical to the company's future as evidenced by the existential threat represented by Amazon and other virtual retailers. What I find interesting here is that perhaps Walmart sees a group of potential customers, ostensibly motivated by convenience, who would shop at a Walmart if they didn't have to actually enter a Walmart. What if those customers aren't all about the convenience, but rather simply don't want to mix with the hoi polloi or who might be embarrassed to be a Walmart shopper? President George Bush's Great Recession depressed a lot of family incomes and gave Walmart a taste of what having access to a customer (and employee) pool that had not shopped at Walmart before could be like. As we've crawled back up to something resembling a healthy economy, that pool has dried up and Walmart wants those people back. Can those people be convinced to retun to the Golden Asshole? Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.

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