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Never waste time at Wal-Mart again

By Parija Kavilanz, senior writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Love Wal-Mart but hate running across its football-field-sized stores for a tube of toothpaste? Now you don't have to.

Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), the world's largest retailer, is debuting a new free service later this month that lets customers order items online at walmart.com and then pick them up four hours later at the nearest store.

However, online orders that are placed after 6 p.m. will be ready for pick up at 10 a.m. the next day, the company said.

The service, called "Pick Up Today," rolls out this month and will be available in 3,600 Wal-Mart stores nationwide by June.

The service includes about 40,000 items that include baby products, toys, furniture, electronics and appliances.

"Pick up Today allows customers to see the inventory of their local Wal-mart store," said Walmart.com spokesman Ravi Jariwala.

However, the service excludes online-only items.

"Online-only items aren't eligible but can still be shipped for free to a store via our Site to Store program," said Jariwala. The Site to Store service ships products to stores in four to seven days.

This latest customer offering from Wal-Mart comes as the discounter struggles to inject some excitement among its shoppers as its sales sag.

Wal-Mart executives have admitted that the retailer has not been doing a good job in catering to the needs of its core shoppers. Therefore, Wal-Mart shoppers are going elsewhere.

In its latest woes, two recent price comparisons of grocery and household goods revealed that rival Target is beating out Wal-Mart's in some key and household products such as milk, eggs and beauty items. To top of page

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