March 10, 2000 12:50 PM PST

Pink Dot takes grocery Web site national

Pink Dot, a Los Angeles-based grocer, is expanding its online home-delivery operations nationwide to challenge the already crowded field of Web supermarkets.

The company, which promises to deliver groceries, ready-made meals and deli food in 30 minutes or less, also said today that it has redesigned its Web site and is waiving its $2.99 delivery charges for online orders received before May 31. A Pink Dot executive declined to identify the cities into which the company plans to move.

As the grocer contemplates its national aspirations, its home city--notorious for traffic-clogged thoroughfares and freeways--is quickly becoming a battleground in the home-delivery segment, where speedy delivery could mean a decisive edge. That battle recently grew more intense with the entry of HomeGrocer to the Los Angeles market.

"The difference between us and HomeGrocer is that they deliver next day and we deliver within 30 minutes," said Pink Dot chief executive Dan Frederickson.

Pink Dot, which also operates 11 brick-and-mortar stores, is beefing up its Internet business in response to competition in Los Angeles. Online convenience store Kozmo.com, which has rapidly expanded its offerings from CDs and videos to include some grocery items such as over-the-counter drugs and liquor products, last month moved into Pink Dot's Los Angeles territory.

The online grocery segment has been white-hot of late as companies such as Webvan, Peapod and HomeGrocer expand into other cities or increase their product offerings. For instance, Webvan announced last month that customers could order books from its Web site.

But few of the companies have as much experience in home delivery as Pink Dot, which began the service by taking phone orders in 1987.

Currently, Camarillo, Calif.-based Pink Dot serves much of greater Los Angeles and Orange County, including Pasadena, Brentwood and Huntington Beach. It uses its own logistical system to help it navigate the sprawling city, Frederickson said.

 

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