Walmart Canada partners with Penguin Pick-Up

Shoppers in Toronto's downtown core get new option for grocery shopping

Retail giant Walmart is offering Toronto grocery shoppers another click-and-collect option, thanks to a new pilot project with SmartCentres’ Penguin Pick-Up service.

Shoppers at both and the Walmart app can now order groceries for pick-up at one of four Penguin Pick-Up locations, located in Toronto’s Leslieville, Harbourfront, Yonge & Eglinton and Yorkville neighbourhoods. Same-day pick-up is available for orders placed before 11 a.m.

Walmart is charging a $3 fee for the service, with a minimum order of $50. The retailer is also offering twice-weekly (Tuesday and Thursdays) condo delivery to four buildings for a $10 fee.

Online prices are the same as in-store, and Walmart is also pledging to match any of its competitors’ advertised prices. It is also offering a freshness guarantee.

Walmart Canada first rolled out its click-and-collect technology to 11 stores in Ottawa in 2015, followed a launch in Toronto last February.

The partnership with Penguin Pick-Up works to serve four additional stores in Toronto's downtown core.

“It’s nice to have the biggest grocery store in the world on-board,” says Egil Nielsen, senior vice-president of SmartCentres and the head of Penguin Pick-Up.

SmartCentres, which owns approximately 250 shopping centres across Canada, launched the Penguin Pick-Up service in 2014. It now boasts 52 Penguin Pick-Up locations in six provinces, primarily in major metropolitan areas.

Nielsen says there is no typical Penguin Pick-Up user. “Everybody wants to put people into boxes like 18-25 or 25-34, but we are an all ages and all demographics ,” he says. “It depends on the location.”

Nielsen says the click-and-collect model will continue to gain momentum as online shopping grows in popularity, but says that the grocery sector requires specific expertise. “Dealing with food requires a special skillset, as well as hardware and knowledge,” he says. “I don’t see a lot of companies that can go into that space.”

Penguin Pick-Up launched as a non-food business, adding frozen food about six months later and fresh food in late 2015. Today, food accounts for about half of Penguin Pick-Up’s business and the company is attracting interest from major retailers.

“Business is definitely growing,” says Nielsen. “We have a lot of interest from a lot of very big companies. When you have 52 locations, deal with fresh and frozen, and you partner with the biggest retailer in the world, there’s no question we’re capable of doing it.”

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