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09/28/2017

Publix Restarts Curbside Pickup Test

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Publix Super Markets has unveiled plans to test curbside grocery pickup at two store locations in Florida – one in Wesley Chapel and another in Valrico – with further tests of the program slated for Atlanta-area stores by the end of the year. The grocer originally began testing Curbside in 2010 but ended up shuttering it in 2012.

To use the service, customers place their orders at publix.com/curbside and choose curbside pickup or delivery at checkout. Curbside orders are then shopped and carried to customers’ vehicles by Publix associates.

Progressive Grocer's sister brand Retail Leader visited the Wesley Chapel location, which had three parking spaces near the store's entrance dedicated for pick-up customers, with signs numbered 1, 2 and 3. Each sign has a phone number shoppers call to alert employees about their arrival, at which point the previously pulled order is gathered and brought to the car by a Publix team member. Signs inside and outside the store alert shoppers about the service, as do flyers handed out with receipts.

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“We’ve had great success with Publix Delivery powered by Instacart, and the demand for online grocery services has continued to grow. So we’re excited to test Publix Curbside and learn more about how to best meet the evolving needs of our customers,” said Maria Brous, Publix director of media and community relations.

The grocer has been aggressively rolling out grocery delivery since July 2016. By the end of this year, Publix Delivery will be available from more than 90 percent of its stores, and it remains committed to making the service available company-wide.

The previous Curbside test, which took place in Florida and Atlanta, and delivered online grocery orders to shoppers' cars for a flat $7.99 fee, might not have been timed correctly, given that far fewer grocers had similar programs of their own in place at that time. With retailers, including giants such as Walmart and Kroger, jumping on board with click-and-collect, Publix may see the time as finally right for boosting operations in this space.

Based in Lakeland, Fla., Publix operates 1,155 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.