Walmart to Upgrade 1,400 Stores With $9B Investment
Walmart is investing more than $9 billion over a two-year period to upgrade and modernize some U.S. stores with improved layouts, expanded product selections and new tech additions. On Friday, 117 stores in 30 states will be re-launched showcasing the enhancements, representing investments of more than $500 million, Walmart said in a statement. In total, the retailer plans to modernize more than 1,400 of its 4,717 Walmart stores across the country. The remodels don't apply to its warehouse club chain, Sam’s Club. The enhanced stores will have refreshed interiors and exteriors; increased checkout options, including staffed lanes and self-checkout areas; and more grab-and-go food and beverage options in its grocery areas. Stores will also host bigger pharmacies with private screening rooms for pharmacist consultations and services, and digital screens and QR codes that offer information on Walmart’s services offered online.
Total Retail's Take: Walmart is making the necessary financial commitments to maximize its greatest competitive advantage in its battle with Amazon.com: its stores. Given the full-fledged return of in-store shopping post-pandemic, Walmart needs to create experiences for its customers that will make them want to come back to its stores again and again. That includes clean and aesthetically pleasing locations; easily navigable aisles that are conveniently merchandised; and more checkout options so that customers can get in and out quickly. Furthermore, Walmart's 4,000-plus stores are integral to the company's omnichannel operations, serving as additional engagement points for online pickups, product returns, customer services (e.g., pharmacist consultations), among other functions. Rather than distancing itself from stores in a "digital-first" world, Walmart is leaning into the channel — and wisely so.