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story.lead_photo.caption This June 25, 2019, file photo shows the entrance to a Walmart. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Walmart Inc. is merging its grocery and e-commerce apps into one, with the rollout taking place in phases over the next few months, the company said.

Janey Whiteside, Walmart's chief customer officer, wrote in a blog post last week that the features of Walmart Grocery, the app customers use to order items for pickup and delivery, will be added to flagship app Walmart.com. The updated app is available to some customers already, she said, and Walmart Grocery will be deactivated this summer.

The desktop versions of the two apps also will be merged in the next few weeks, Whiteside said.

Company executives said at the Bentonville retailer's annual investor meeting last month that the app merger would happen this year, and Brett Biggs, Walmart's chief financial officer, mentioned it again March 4 at a Raymond James investor conference.

Biggs said that online grocery shoppers buy twice as much as those shopping in stores, and the retailer hopes to add more general merchandise into that mix. Merging the apps is a way to benefit the company and simplify shopping for customers, he said.

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