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Walmart invests in San Francisco-based autonomous automobile firm, Cruise

Walmart Inc. WMT, + 0.57%, announced an investment in San Francisco-based self-driving vehicle company, Cruise, on Thursday. Walmart has not disclosed the size of the investment.

The two companies began working together on a pilot delivery program in Scottsdale, AZ last November.

Cruise’s fleet of vehicles is also fully electric, which is another step in Walmart’s efforts to meet its environmental goals. This week the retail giant announced its efforts to protect pollinator populations.

“As delivery has become an integral part of our customers’ lives, we are focused on building our last mile ecosystem to benefit everyone – customers, businesses and the planet,” wrote John Furner, CEO from Walmart US, in a post on the Walmart website.

Read: Walmart is shifting more employees to full-time employment

Consumer businesses are paying attention and increasingly investing in the efficiency of their delivery service. Over the past year, customers have relied on household goods to grocery deliveries as COVID-19 has restricted store operations and restaurant capacity.

“Working from home and the growing desire to shop online are challenging retailers and consumer goods companies to fundamentally rethink how they serve the pandemic-adapted consumer,” Accenture wrote in a recent report following a global survey of 9,650 consumers.

Even as the vaccine adoption and recovery continues, experts expect some consumer behaviors to persist, including those that emphasize comfort.

“Leading retailers have adapted quickly to the rise of e-commerce and are using technology to serve customers in new ways,” said Jill Standish, director of Accenture’s global retail group, in the report.

Likewise: Lowe’s is making a bigger game for professionals with the introduction of new amenities

“Even in a post-pandemic world, companies need to satisfy consumers’ appetites for online shopping with fast delivery and invest more consciously to empower their people, supply chains, physical stores and digital channels. positioned to drive growth. “

Last month, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. CMG, +1.83%, announced its investment in Nuro, another autonomous delivery company.

Kroger Co. KR, +0.63% and Ocado OCDO, -1.00% unveiled their first high-tech facility in Ohio on Wednesday that will help fulfill customer orders.

See: Kroger launches high-tech facility as digital competition between grocers intensifies

And Home Depot Inc. HD, + 0.36%, announced Thursday morning that it will add five distribution facilities by next year to serve the South Florida area only.

Electric vehicles were also in the spotlight with the IPO of TuSimple, a Tesla Inc. TSLA, + 0.14% rival, and a new vehicle from Mercedes-Benz.

Do not miss: Tesla’s self-driving truck rival TuSimple receives more than $ 1 billion in IPO and valued it at $ 8.5 billion

Walmart stock is down 2.8% year-to-date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA is up + 0.44% over the reporting period, up 11.2%.

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