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Peapod, Grocery Giant Partner

Online grocer Peapod and Stop & Shop, a New England-based supermarket chain, Tuesday began offering online shopping and delivery service in southern Connecticut.

Royal Ahold, an international food provider, has ties to both firms. Stop & Shop is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Royal Ahold . In April, the Dutch-based food provider helped to keep financially troubled Peapod afloat with a $73 million investment.

"With Ahold's strong East Coast presence, and Peapod's established operations in Boston and Long Island, the Connecticut market is a great strategic fit as we continue to focus on expanding along the Eastern seaboard," said Marc van Gelder, Peapod's president and chief executive officer.

The Peapod by Stop & Shop service offers consumers a convenient way to shop. Orders are filled from a dedicated, fast-pick fulfillment center in Norwalk, Conn., adjoined to a Super Stop & Shop location. The fulfillment center offers a wide variety of private label and national brands.

Peapod's just-in-time, flow-through process guarantees customers the freshest products available. Peapod will deploy its order fulfillment technology and proprietary transportation routing system, which helps it achieve accuracy and efficiency in picking, packing and delivering grocery orders in its current markets.

The online shopping and delivery service is available in Norwalk and New Canaan and will become available in most of southern Connecticut in early July. Customers select the delivery time that is most convenient for them and can have groceries delivered as soon as the next day.

Royal Ahold reports annualized sales approaching $50 billion, operating more than 7,000 stores across the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia. The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., which reported $6.7 billion in sales last year, operates 204 stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island.