Gro­cery start-up In­stacart ex­pands

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - By Alexa D’An­gelo alexa.d’an­gelo@la­times.com

In­stacart is bring­ing its gro­cery de­liv­ery ser­vice to 1 mil­lion ad­di­tional house­holds in Los An­ge­les, River­side, San Bernardino and Ven­tura coun­ties.

The ex­pan­sion, rolling out Tues­day, re­flects de­mand in a re­gion where In­stacart al­ready serves nearly 2 mil­lion house­holds, said In­stacart se­nior re­gional di­rec­tor Sean Tw­er­sky.

“Not only do we see de­mand but we think we are at a point where we have great relationships with our part­ners and can re­ally ex­pand with­out los­ing the qual­ity our cus­tomers are ac­cus­tomed to,” Tw­er­sky said.

The com­pany will bring on an ad­di­tional 300 shop­pers to help fill the or­ders.

The 5-year-old San Fran­cisco com­pany built its busi­ness by part­ner­ing with brick-and-mor­tar stores — in­clud­ing Stater Bros., Smart & Fi­nal, Costco, Petco and Whole Foods — and con­tract­ing with shop­pers who col­lect the items and de­liv­ery driv­ers who drop off or­ders at a cus­tomer’s home or of­fice in less than an hour.

Ama­zon an­nounced plans to pur­chase Whole Foods this sum­mer for $13.7 bil­lion — a po­ten­tial blow to In­stacart, which counts Whole Foods as an early part­ner.

Tues­day’s ex­pan­sion is a sign In­stacart isn’t backing down.

“From the be­gin­ning, we’ve been com­mit­ted to help­ing gro­cers com­pete on­line,” an In­stacart spokesper­son said in an email. “That’s more im­por­tant than ever given Ama­zon just de­clared war on ev­ery su­per­mar­ket and cor­ner store in Amer­ica.”

Whole Foods now ac­counts for less than 10% of In­stacart’s busi­ness.

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