Walmart announces ambitious 5-year growth plan

Dive Brief:

  • Walmart announced Wednesday a five-year plan to build or convert more than 150 locations while simultaneously continuing its efforts to remodel existing stores. Over the next 12 months, the retail giant said it aims to remodel 650 stores across 47 states and Puerto Rico.
  • Both new and remodeled Walmart stores will reflect the retailer’s “Store of the Future” concept, with improved layouts, expanded product selections and innovative technology to support associates as well as make shopping trips more convenient, according to the announcement. 
  • The store investments come at a time when Walmart has become a dominating force in the grocery sector, driving financial gains as well as growing market share.

Dive Insight:

With this latest expansion and remodeling drive, Walmart is looking to sustain the momentum it has built during this prolonged period of consumer price sensitivity.

A key piece of this strategy is reigniting store growth. In a note posted Wednesday on its website, Walmart U.S. President and CEO John Furner said the company is “finalizing construction plans” on 12 new stores it aims to start building this year.

Neighborhood Markets in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, and Atlanta will be the first locations to open later this spring as part of Walmart’s expansion initiative. 

After years of breakneck expansion, Walmart’s store growth has slowed in recent years as it has focused more on investing in its existing locations. The company last opened a supercenter nearly two years ago, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Walmart said its expansion efforts will benefit communities by creating tens of thousands of jobs. Hundreds of jobs will become available upon each store’s opening and positions come with perks such as tuition-free college, flexible scheduling and competitive paid time off. 

The newly opened and remodeled locations are also more sustainable than previous builds, with energy-efficient equipment and lighting, lower-impact refrigerants and more, according to the announcement. Walmart also noted it is currently developing a coast-to-coast network of affordable electrical vehicle fast charging stations for its customers. 

Walmart’s grocery business has helped power the retailer’s sales and profits. During its third quarter of fiscal year 2024, Walmart saw mid-single-digit growth in grocery with CFO John David Rainey telling investors during the earnings call in November that the category continues to post “strong” share gains in both units and dollars for the retailer. 

Industry experts anticipate Walmart growing significantly in 2024. Jordan Berke, a former Walmart e-commerce executive founder and CEO of Tomorrow Retail Consulting, said in a recent interview that he expects the retailer to focus heavily on its express delivery service as well as its food and consumables categories. 

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