Nov 1, 2023
U.S. retail chain Walmart on Monday said it 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, it plans to modernize more than 1,400 of its 4,717 Walmart stores across the country. The remodels do not apply to its warehouse club chain, Sam’s Club, a spokesperson said.
“These construction investments allow us to create more local jobs and make it easier for our associates to get customers what they want, when they want it,” John Furner, chief executive officer of Walmart’s U.S. business said.
Walmart’s low-cost and low-margin groceries have been a big draw for Americans dealing with steep inflation in food prices, including eggs, protein and chocolate, over the past two years. In 2022, the company’s sales surpassed $600 billion, a record.
Now the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer wants to change its image from merely a steep discounter to a destination where customers can also purchase fashionable home goods and clothing.
As part of those efforts, the company tested some remodeled concept stores called “Stores of the Future” at a few Walmart Supercenters, including Teterboro in New Jersey, earlier this year.
Executives have previously said the concept was a success, with same-store sales rising by a few percentage points and in Teterboro’s case, as much as 20%.
Monday’s investments mark the national rollout of that concept, a Walmart spokesperson said.
The enhanced stores will have refreshed interiors and exteriors, with new paint, updated flooring, modernized restrooms, LED-lighting and new signage for brighter and easier navigation through the stores, the company said.
Customers also will see increased check-out 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, the company said in a statement.
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