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Fri Feb 21, 2014, 03:59 AM

Walmart Ramping Up Small-store Growth

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it would significantly accelerate its capital plan for U.S. small store openings for the current fiscal year. Having expanded its original capital forecast from last October, the Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-retailer now expects to add about 270 to 300 small stores during the fiscal year, doubling its earlier forecast of 120 to 150 locations. Additionally, Walmart U.S. will keep to its plan to open around 115 new supercenters this year.

“Customers’ needs and expectations are changing,” noted Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and CEO. “They want to shop when they want and how they want, and we are transforming our business to meet their expectations. Customers appreciate the broad assortment of our supercenters for their stock-up trips, as well as our small-store formats for fill-in trips. By unlocking this growth opportunity and further combining our supercenters and small store formats with an unlimited selection available through ecommerce, we provide our customers with anytime, anywhere access to our brand.”

Exemplifying the success of the company’s small-format stores, comparable-store sales for its Neighborhood Market locations rose about 4 percent for fiscal year 2014, spurred by fresh and pharmacy.

“Neighborhood Market is performing comparable or favorable to leading grocers,” observed Simon. “Our small-store expansion, in addition to providing customers access to a wide variety of products, including fresh, pharmacy and fuel, will help us usher in the next generation of retail. This will combine thousands of points of physical access with digital retail experiences that include initiatives such as Site to Store and Pay with Cash.”


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