September 20, 2010, 5:10 PM

Walmart.com tests free shipping to FedEx locations

Retailer’s twist on its Site to Store service targets consumers in Boston and Los Angeles.

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Walmart.com is offering free delivery of online orders to FedEx Corp. locations in Los Angeles and Boston, where Wal-mart Stores Inc. operates few stores.

It’s a variant of Walmart.com’s Site to Store service that lets shoppers buy online and pick up in a nearby Wal-Mart store. The new service lets customers in the two test cities pick up orders at selected FedEx Office facilities. FedEx Office is the division of FedEx formerly known as Kinkos that offers shipping and copying services.

Wal-Mart operates two stores in Los Angeles and none in Boston. The retailer began testing the alternate delivery option at 26 Los Angeles FedEx Office locations in June and at 18 in Boston in August. “As always, we continue to test and provide innovative ways to provide more savings for our customers online at Walmart.com,” says a Wal-Mart spokesman.

According to information posted on Walmart.com, orders shipped to a FedEx Office location will arrive in seven to 10 days, plus processing time. FedEx Office will hold packages for five business days. The retailer says most, but not all, Site to Store items can be sent to a participating FedEx Office location.  Wal-Mart does not elaborate on which products cannot be shipped this way. FedEx did not return calls for comment. FedEx Office operates more than 1,900 locations around the world.

Walmart.com, No. 6 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, had an estimated $3.5 billion in web sales in 2009. Wal-Mart operates more than 4,300 stores in the United States, but most are in suburbs and small towns. Political opposition has prevented the world’s largest retailer by sales from opening stores in several big cities, and last year Walmart Stores CEO Mike Duke called the company’s expansion into urban areas a priority. Walmart declined to comment whether the FedEx program would be expanded to other urban areas where it is trying to gain a foothold.

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