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The Big Story

Amazon and Walmart bet big on Indian grocery delivery

Local startup Grofers tweaks business model as battle for users heats up

ROSEMARY MARANDI, Nikkei staff writer | India

MUMBAI -- It is a sweltering Monday afternoon just outside of New Delhi, and workers at Grofers’ 40,000-sq.-foot grocery warehouse are racing to beat the clock. Fresh fruits, vegetables and meats are quickly but carefully packed into boxes filled with ice to protect them from the 40 C heat, then loaded along with nonperishable items into Grofers' distinctive orange-and-white delivery vans.

Those vans need to be on the road from the warehouse in suburban Manesar well before New Delhi’s notorious rush hour kicks in at 6 p.m., otherwise Grofers will disappoint customers like Naman Agarwal, who is expecting his groceries between 5 and 8 p.m. Even a slight delay getting to the first customer could have a ripple effect on the entire delivery chain. There is no room for mistakes.

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