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Walmart Expanding E-Commerce Infrastructure

SAN BRUNO, CALIF. — Walmart is adding two more fulfillment centers to support its online operations.

The 1.2 million-square-foot facilities will open next year in Atlanta and Bethlehem, Pa., and join three existing warehouses in Texas, Indiana and Pennsylvania that are earmarked for e-commerce.

The fulfillment centers operate in tandem with mixed-channel warehouses that stock and ship merchandise to Walmart’s stores and online customers.

The expansion of its dedicated e-commerce distribution centers comes as e-tailers and retailers race to provide evershorter delivery times from their digital stores.

The announcement was made at the discounter’s annual analysts’ meeting in Rogers, Ark. There, senior executives outlined the company’s growth strategy, including plans to invest in new capabilities and to continue improving the customer experience at all Walmart stores.

The game plan also calls for improvements in price, assortment, shopping experience, and multichannel access, said president/CEO Doug McMillon.

“The Internet, mobile, data and technology present opportunities across the world and across our businesses to better serve the changing customer,” he told the gathering.

In a research note, attendee David Strasser of Janney Capital Markets cited Walmart management’s recognition “that business as usual is over.” Accordingly, the company cut the pace of new U.S. supercenter openings by half as it focuses instead on small-store formats and e-commerce.

Other initiatives include expanded SKUs and increased investment in store and e-commerce integration, Strasser said.