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MINNEAPOLIS: December 13, 2017. American bricks-and-mortar retailer Target Corp. is to purchase Shipt, an online same-day domestic delivery platform, for US$550 million in cash.

Founded in 2014 and located in Birmingham, Alabama, Shipt is a membership-based grocery marketplace supported by 20,000 personal shoppers.

The move, one of the largest acquisitions in the company's history, will provide Shipt delivery services of groceries, essentials, home and electronics at about half of Target stores beginning early next year.Shipt

"With Shipt's network of local shoppers and their current market penetration, we will move from days to hours, dramatically accelerating our ability to bring affordable same-day delivery to guests across the country," said John Mulligan, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Target. "By the 2018 holiday season, we will be servicing every major market across the country with same-day delivery," he added.

By April next year Target customers will be able to visit Shipt.com to see if same-day delivery is available from their local store for an annual fee of US$99.00.

Founded in 2014 and based in Birmingham, Alabama Shipt is a membership-based grocery service that leverages its personal shopper network in over 72 U.S. markets to fulfill and deliver orders from local retailers within hours.

According to founder and CEO Bill Smith, what sets his company apart from competitors is a reliance on local shoppers: "For instance, we make sure that the same person who shops for our customers' items is also the person who delivers those items. We also recently built a rating system that allows customers to give feedback in real-time. If they rate a shopper highly, they are more likely to be paired with them again."

In addition to same-day delivery, Target will also leverage Shipt's expertise as the company strengthens its supply chain, including integration with the recently acquired last-mile transportation technology company, Grand Junction.

Pictured: Shipt CEO and founder Bill Smith (center) with Target Chief Operating Officer John Mulligan (left) and CEO Brian Cornell.