June 6, 2013 / 7:53 PM / 6 years ago

Wal-Mart has no U.S. grocery delivery expansion plans for now

A Wal-Mart Stores Inc employee works in one of the company's distribution centers in Bentonville, Arkansas June 6, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

ROGERS, Arkansas (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) has no immediate plans to expand its U.S. online grocery delivery beyond a test in California because it is not yet convinced there is sufficient demand, the head of the company’s global e-commerce division said on Thursday.

Wal-Mart’s Asda unit is the second-largest grocery delivery business in the United Kingdom and the company has been testing letting shoppers in San Jose and San Francisco order groceries online and then receive them via home delivery.

Earlier this week, Reuters reported that Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) is planning a major roll-out of its AmazonFresh online grocery business that it has been quietly developing for years, according to two people familiar with the situation. <ID:L1N0EG1JH>

Walmart U.S., meanwhile, is the largest grocer in the United States and could use its thousands of stores that sell groceries to fill online orders. For now, it is holding off based on a lack of demand.

“We are not making any announcements about other markets for grocery delivery in the U.S. right now,” Neil Ashe, the president and chief executive officer of Walmart Global eCommerce, told reporters on Thursday afternoon, a day before the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

While the test in San Jose and San Francisco has proven that the company “can serve a market effectively from our existing supercenters ... we’ll have to wait and see whether the customer wants it,” he said.

Along with the Asda grocery delivery program in the United Kingdom, Wal-Mart also delivers groceries in China via e-commerce company Yihaodian and in Mexico through its Superama chain.

“Grocery delivery for us is not new,” Ashe said.

Editing by Matthew Lewis

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