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Amazon brings grocery delivery service Prime Now to St. Louis

Amazon Prime subscribers in St. Louis beginning Wednesday can get their groceries delivered to their homes in as little as one hour through Amazon’s Prime Now service.

The Seattle-based e-commerce giant announced Wednesday it was expanding its Prime Now delivery service from Whole Foods Market in eight new cities, including St. Louis.

Prime members can shop thousands of items, including produce, bakery, dairy, meat, seafood and floral from Whole Foods. Certain alcoholic items are also eligible, the company said in a release.

Delivery will be available daily between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., and is free with a Prime subscription that costs $119 annually.

Delivery or pickup of groceries ordered online has become standard practice for chains with scale to capture or retain market share. And grocers of all sizes have invested heavily in their digital capabilities to keep up with technological advances.

Discount grocer Aldi this month said it would include St. Louis in its Instacart delivery service area by Thanksgiving.

Whole Foods has offered delivery through Instacart in the St. Louis area for the last several months. Schnucks, Fresh Thyme, Sam’s Club and Straub’s are also Instacart partners.

Dierbergs offers delivery through Shipt, a subsidiary of Target.

Amazon, which acquired Whole Foods last year for $13.7 billion, had already been providing St. Louis Prime subscribers a 10 percent discount at Missouri Whole Foods stores.

The expansion of Prime Now in St. Louis coincides with grocers jockeying for market share in the wake of 19 area Shop ’n Save stores being sold to Schnuck Markets, which will rebrand those locations as Schnucks stores by the end of October.

Shop ’n Save’s parent company Supervalu had been looking to sell its Kirkwood-based Shop ’n Save for most of the last year.

Another 14 area Shop ’n Save stores are expected to close by mid-November unless another buyer comes forward. The closures could put hundreds of millions of dollars in grocery sales up for grabs.

Walmart, the area’s second-largest grocery by market share, has rapidly added to its grocery capabilities by offering curbside pickup and delivery services. Aldi, the fastest-growing grocery chain, is in the midst of a $49 million investment in the St. Louis market, where it’s upgrading old stores and adding new ones.

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