Walmart's online grocery delivery partnerships with ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft have ended, according to two sources, a potential setback for the retailer's ambitions to challenge Amazon.com head-on with speedy delivery of groceries to people's homes.
The end of the Walmart partnerships, which has not been previously reported and was confirmed by Walmart and Uber, undercuts a vision the ride-hailing companies laid out: a service that can efficiently deliver anything on-demand, including people and cargo, at the touch of a smartphone app.
"It is incredibly hard to deliver people and packages together," said a source with a delivery company that works with Walmart and has direct knowledge of the matter. "They are two completely different business models."
The decision marks an abrupt end to a business relationship that Walmart and Uber announced with much fanfare less than two years ago. At Walmart's shareholders meeting in June 2016, CEO Doug McMillon touted the company's investments in technology and spoke about the partnerships in front of a cheering crowd of 14,000 employees.
Soon after, Uber's grocery delivery service was launched and expanded to four markets. As recently as March, just before Uber ended the arrangement, Walmart said Uber would be a partner in its plans to deliver groceries to more than 40 percent of the country.