Wal-Mart to offer free shipping to Chicago FedEx offices

By Sandra M. Jones
Posted Oct. 13, 2010 at 4:37 p.m.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to unveil Thursday free delivery of purchases made through its web site to Chicago FedEx offices — a move aimed at reaching urban consumers.

The world’s largest retailer launched the pilot program, called FedEx Site-to-Store, this summer in Boston and Los Angeles. The test expands this week to Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.. There will be 40 FedEx sites participating in the Chicago market, concentrated in the city with a smattering of sites in the suburbs, according to Wal-Mart spokesman Ravi Jariwala.

For the past several years, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer has faced political opposition to opening brick-and-mortar stores in big cities, especially where union influence is strong. But there are no geographical barriers to reaching potential shoppers through its web site.

Under the deal with Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx Corp., shoppers can order products from Walmart.com and have them shipped free to a local FedEx office for pick up. Wal-Mart already offers free shipping of online orders to its stores.

Wal-Mart opened its first Chicago store, at 4650 W. North Ave., in September 2006 amid a swirl of controversy. This past summer, the received the green light to build two more city stores on Chicago’s South Side.

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