Wal-Mart brings grocery pickup service to 6 south Louisiana stores _lowres

Associated Press file photo -- Wal-Mart customers can avoid the hassle of shopping for groceries in the retailer's stores by ordering online for curbside pickup at six stores in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas.

Wal-Mart shoppers are now able to order grocery items online and pick them up curbside at no additional charge at six south Louisiana stores.

The curbside service is being offered at three Baton Rouge-area stores at 308 N. Airline Highway in Gonzales; 904 S. Range Ave. in Denham Springs; and 17585 Airline Highway in Prairieville. Three participating New Orleans-area stores are 880 N. U.S. 190 in Covington; 300 W. Esplanade Ave. in Kenner; and 167 Northshore Blvd. in Slidell.

Plans are to continue introducing the service at more stores.

Shoppers go to the Wal-Mart grocery website or app and place their orders. More than 30,000 items are available for pickup, ranging from fresh produce and meat to canned goods and diapers. All of the items available for pickup are priced the same as goods on Wal-Mart shelves.

After the shopper places the order and pays for the items, they choose a pickup time. Specially trained Wal-Mart employees go through the customer’s order and select items on their list. The items are then set aside.

The shopper arrives at the store at the time chosen, parks in a special place for curbside pickup and calls a designated number. When the shopper dials that number, an employee takes the order and brings it to the vehicle.

“Our customers have told us that grocery pickup is a game-changer,” said Ken Wesner, who manages the Covington store. “They are now able to complete their grocery shopping in a matter of minutes — between errands or on their way home from an after-school activity — without even unbuckling their seat belts.”

Wal-Mart has offered curbside grocery pickup for some time but has expanded the program in the past year, adding medium-sized markets such as Boise, Idaho; Richmond, Virginia; and Charleston, South Carolina.

As of April, Reuters reported the program existed in 30 cities with more than 200 Wal-Marts participating. According to Wal-Mart, 85 percent of the shoppers who use the service are repeat customers.