WASHINGTON, May 14 (Xinhua) -- U.S. retail giant Walmart announced Tuesday that it will provide customers with free next-day delivery covering hundreds of thousands of "most frequently purchased" items.
Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart eCommerce U.S., said in a statement that the next-day delivery program covers "220,000 of the items most frequently purchased, ranging from diapers and laundry detergent to toys and electronics, with more assortment to be added."
"It is available on eligible orders of 35 dollars or more, with the specific assortment varying by customer location," he added.
Next-day delivery, according to Lore, will be available first to Walmart.com customers in Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada, and will expand to Southern California in the coming days.
Walmart will gradually roll out the plan in the coming months. It expects the new sales strategy to reach approximately 75 percent of the U.S. population this year, which includes 40 of the top 50 major U.S. metro areas, said the statement.
Walmart started with same-day in-store pickup in 2011 and began offering two-day free shipping in 2017 with no membership fee, according to the statement.
Walmart's new initiative was viewed by U.S. media as a measure to compete with rivals in the retail sector, as it came after Amazon announced on April 25 that it would spend 800 million dollars in the second quarter for free one-day delivery for all of its Prime members.