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Walmart Planning Hundreds Of Mini Stores


Walmart U.S. president/
CEO Bill Simon said the retailer plans to open what
could amount to hundreds of Walmart Express stores
across the country.

The 15,000-square-foot “mini” Walmarts will be
used to backfill rural markets and penetrate urban
areas, including Chicago, New York, San Diego and
Washington DC. Construction has begun on the
first Express location, about 20 miles from corporate
headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

“The aim here, folks, is to get the right model so
that we can rapidly roll these things out,” Simon told
attendees at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch Consumer
Conference this month. “At our peak we built
about 350 supercenters in a year, so when we get
this thing right, these are going to come real fast, and
we’re real excited about this format.”

He said the assortments of the small-format stores
will be tailored to their local markets, and that sales
will be “supercharged” by the company’s multi-channel

The latter include a “Pick Up Today” service that allows
customers to purchase items online and receive
free same-day pickup at a local Walmart store. Online
orders are usually ready for pickup in about four
hours, and orders placed after 6 p.m. are ready for
pickup at 10 a.m. the next day.

The company will begin a national rollout of the service
this month.

The discounter presently offers Site to Store, a fiveyear-
old service that ships online orders for free to a
local Walmart store within four to seven days. It covers
tens of thousands of SKUs, most of which are
unavailable in stores.

The new Pick Up Today service will eventually include
up to 40,000 items, including CE and video
games, and is expected to be available at Walmart’s
3,600 flagship stores nationwide by June.

“Walmart is uniquely positioned to combine the
power of e-commerce with our national retail footprint
to offer a leading, multichannel experience that delivers
the best savings and convenience to our customers,”

senior VP and general manager
Steve Nave said in a statement. “We’ve seen strong
customer response from initial tests of Pick Up Today,
and we’re pleased to expand the program to customers
nationwide in the coming months.”

The retailer is also testing a FedEx Site to Store
program in metro markets without a Walmart presence
that allows customers to order online and ship
products free to a FedEx Office location.