Walmart to Bolster Smaller Formats in the U.S.
BENTONVILLE, Ark.-Walmart will significantly accelerate its investment in smaller-format stores in the United States, with the goal of adding 270 to 300 Neighbor Markets and Walmart Expresses to its count during this fiscal year.
The company currently operates 346 Neighborhood Markets and 20 Walmart Express stores. In a Walmart statement, Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., said, "Customers' needs and expectations are changing. They want to shop when they want and how they want, and we are transforming our business to meet their expectations."
Walmart's smaller formats have posted positive results since their debuts. Both formats delivered positive same-store sales and traffic increases in each quarter, the statement said. For the fiscal year ending on Jan. 31, same-store sales at the Neighborhood Markets were up 4 percent.
The statement added that Walmart intends to open about 115 supercenters this year. "We have a healthy pipeline of stores in development," Simon said, "and we systematically work to improve our real-estate and construction processes, reduce building costs and shorten the time needed to open our stores.
"In addition to providing best-in-class one-stop shopping at supercenters, we believe that accelerating our small-store expansion will allow customers to choose where and when to shop based on their needs. Our small-store expansion will also strengthen our market share and create greater efficiencies in our supply chain through a tethered approach that uses supercenters as a supply-chain base, links our resources and provides a unique and connected customer experience," he added.