A HUGE local grocery chain has suspended its delivery services in a bid to cut costs and increase efficiency.
Baltimore, Maryland-based Giant Foods once operated its own delivery program but will now lay off 250 employees and rely on third-party options like Instacart.
The grocer previously operated several fulfillment warehouses where employees packed and personally delivered orders.
However, to meet consumer needs for faster deliveries, Giant said Monday that it is relying on in-store employees and third-party delivery services.
That means warehouses in Hanover and Milford, Delaware, will be closed through Oct. 21, The Baltimore Sun reports.
“We are pleased to announce updates to our home delivery service to meet our customers’ changing needs for faster delivery, more delivery windows and a broader assortment,” said Giant spokesman Jonathan Arons.
“We will consolidate our Giant Delivers business into our newly opened e-commerce fulfillment center in Manassas, Virginia, and implement a localized pick-from-store model with our Giant associates, as well as continue to work with third-party providers to deliver faster “To be able to deliver to our customers.”
Now, store associates assemble online orders in-store and then prepare them for Instacart or Uber Eats drivers to make deliveries.
Giant operates 93 stores in Maryland and uses delivery services for each location.
Customers in Manassas will continue to have access to the exclusive vans.
Giant also made headlines for cracking down on unprecedented shoplifting by possibly swapping out the products on its shelves at a Washington, D.C. store.
Trayon White, representative of Ward Eight, where the store is located, recently made a statement regarding the future of the store.
He explained that the location was at risk of having to close its doors due to increasing thefts.
“We know these are difficult times and we know that food prices have skyrocketed over the last three years,” White said as he addressed his congregation.
“But we can’t afford to hurt ourselves by constantly taking things out of the store because that means everyone runs out of room to eat, and enough is enough.”
The store had no plans to close the location, but retail crime is forcing management to desperately look for solutions, NBC affiliate WRC reports.
“The reality is that theft and violence in this business is significant and is getting worse, not better,” Giant said in a statement.
“This makes it increasingly difficult to operate under these conditions.”
Councilman White said he is working to keep the site open and food available for residents.
Ira Kress, president of Giant Foods, addressed the seriousness of the situation in a recent interview.
“Say [theft has] “The number of violence that has increased tenfold in the last five years would not be an understatement,” he told The Washington Post, noting that violence has also “increased exponentially.”
“The last thing I want to do is close stores,” Kress said. “But I need to be able to operate it safely and profitably.”
If the store closed, the nearest grocer would be in Ward Seven, two miles away.
The Giant news comes as another popular supermarket and Aldi competitor is expanding across the country.
But the store’s recent switch to self-checkout caused controversy among customers.