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Walmart Inc. is expanding home delivery of online grocery orders to the Little Rock metro area beginning Tuesday, the company said in a news release. The service area will include Sherwood, North Little Rock and Bryant.

The same-day service costs $9.95 per delivery and is available on orders of $30 or more. The company uses small delivery startups like Deliv, DoorDash and Postmates to deliver the orders.

Walmart has struggled to find efficient means of delivering groceries to online shoppers as it competes with other retailers for grocery sales. In May, it said it was ending two-year delivery trials with ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft. Walmart also briefly tried getting its own employees to deliver groceries after their shifts ended.

The Bentonville retailer said it plans to offer the service in more than 100 metro areas, or about 800 stores, by year's end. That will make it available to about 40 percent of U.S. households, the company said.

Kroger began offering same-day grocery delivery in the Little Rock area last month. Kroger has said the service will expand to Hot Springs by late October.

-- Serenah McKay

For training, retailer to use virtual reality

Walmart Inc. will use virtual reality technology to train its employees at stores nationwide beginning in October, the company said in a news release Friday.

The Bentonville retailer said it will send four Oculus Go headsets to every Walmart supercenter and two to every Neighborhood Market and discount store in the U.S. More than 17,000 headsets will be in stores by the end of the year, the company said.

Walmart has used virtual reality training for the past year with managers at its Walmart Academies. The in-store training for employees will focus on new technology, compliance and soft skills like empathy and customer service.

Andy Trainor, senior director of Walmart U.S. Academies, said virtual reality training boosts confidence and retention while improving test scores as much as 15 percent. "Even those associates who simply watched others experience the training saw the same retention boosts," he said.

-- Serenah McKay

State index dips 1.19 to end day at 461.90

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, fell 1.19 to 461.90 Friday.

P.A.M. Transportation Services rose 3.2 percent in heavy volume and USA Truck lost 4.9 percent in average trading.

Total volume for the index Friday was 34.7 million shares. The average daily volume for the week was 20.7 million shares.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

Business on 09/22/2018

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