Walmart plans to add more than 150 large format stores in the US.

Walmart Inc. Chairman and CEO Doug McMillon delivers a keynote speech during CES 2024 at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas on January 9, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethan Miller | fake images

Walmart It already has a huge footprint in the United States. But the retail giant sees room to grow even more.

The company plans to build or convert more than 150 large-format stores over the next five years, it said Wednesday. Some of the locations will expand from a smaller location to a supercenter with a full range of groceries and merchandise, but most will be new stores, said Josh Havens, a company spokesman.

Walmart declined to say how much the new stores will cost and where they will be located. The company already has more than 4,600 stores throughout the country and nearly 600 Sam's Club stores. Sam's Club is also in expansion mode, with plans to open more than 30 new stores in the US.

The big-box retailer is the largest private employer in the U.S. with about 1.6 million employees. About 90% of the American population already lives within 10 miles of a Walmart store. With the expansion, Walmart is signaling that it sees its brick-and-mortar locations as a key part of the future, despite increased competition from online players like Amazon and Shein, and its own push for online sales growth and its third-party marketplace.

Walmart is also taking advantage of its relative strength compared to other retailers, which have taken a bigger hit from U.S. consumers pulling out their discretionary products. As the country's largest grocer by revenue and a well-known discounter, Walmart has weathered inflation better and even attracted more high-income households to its stores.

Its shares hit an all-time high last year and the company announced a 3-for-1 stock split on Tuesday.

In a post on the company's website Wednesday, Walmart US CEO John Furner said the retailer plans to break ground on 12 new store projects this year and will convert one of its smaller locations into a supercenter. Walmart. The decision to open or expand locations adds to the company's plans to renovate other stores, he added.

Furner said the new stores will reflect Walmart's more modern look, which it is rolling out more broadly. The “store of the future” design has a sleeker design that emphasizes the retailer's fashionable clothing brands, adds technology like scannable QR codes and features sharper signage.

The new stores will also have more sustainability features, such as energy-efficient lighting, he said.

The expansion of Walmart stores was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

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