Walmart to spend $31 million improving stores in Arkansas

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 3,116 views 

Walmart plans to spend $31 million over the next year renovating and remodeling nine stores in Arkansas and expanding Scan & Go, and pickup towers for retrieval of online orders. Walmart reduced the number of new stores it will build and will focus on around 500 store remodels among its 4,761 stores.

Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran has said the remodel agenda is aggressive even for Walmart, but the company believed investing into existing stores made more sense than building new ones given the massive footprint Walmart has amassed and the growth of online shopping. Foran said the retailer has many stores more than 15 years old which need to be updated with the latest innovations to make shopping easier.

While most of Walmart Stores’ $11 billion in capital expenditures are earmarked for e-commerce, store renovations are expected to total more than $1 billion.

“We are making shopping quicker and more convenient than ever for Arkansas families and the store remodels will provide a fresh new experience for our customers,” said, Amy Corso, vice president and regional general manager. “We’ve had a sharp focus on making the entire shopping experience inside our stores and online, easier and more convenient. Our customers tell us our plan is working.”

Following are the scheduled store remodels in Arkansas:
• Camden – 950 California Ave. Southwest
• Conway – 3900 Dave Ward Drive
• Fayetteville – 2875 W. Martin Luther King Blvd.
• Jonesboro – 1815 E. Highland Drive
• Lonoke – 322 Brownsville Loop
• Paragould – 2802 W. Kings Highway
• Stuttgart – 406 E. 22 St.
• Van Buren – 2214 Fayetteville Road
• Wynne – 800 Highway 64 E.

Walmart plans to expand online grocery pickup to 20 additional locations in the state this year, making it available in 50 stores. By the end of this year, Walmart expects to have online grocery pickup in 2,200 stores across the nation.

Mobile express Scan & Go is being tested in select stores where shoppers can use their mobile devices to scan prices of items and skip the checkout. This is available at the Pleasant Crossing locations in Rogers and the Supercenter in Malvern. Walmart said it continues to evaluate the use of personal mobile devices and hopes to expand that service to more customers. Sam’s Club has offered  the service to its members for the past two years.

Stores in Northwest Arkansas, including Neighborhood Markets, are testing handheld devices located at the front of the store that allow shoppers to scan items as they go into the basket and then let the designated registers read the code on the device for faster checkout. Shoppers still have to go through a checkout station.

Pickup towers are being used in stores in Bentonville, Fort Smith, Rogers and Sherwood. The towers are located in the front of the store and can get the package to the customer in less than one minute after the barcode from a smartphone is scanned into the kiosk. Walmart is rolling out more of the towers this year.

In Texas, Walmart will spend $277 million overhauling 45 stores, 18 of which are located in or near the Dallas-Fort Worth region – a highly competitive grocery market with a strong presence by Kroger, Albertsons and Sprouts. In the Austin market where Whole Foods and HEB have a strong presence, Walmart said it will remodel two stores.

More than 140 million U.S. consumers shop the retailer each week and 90% of the country’s population lives within 15 minutes of a Walmart store. Roughly eight cents of every U.S. dollar is spent at Walmart’s 4,761 stores, which raked in net sales of $318.5 billion last year, accounting for 64% of the company’s total half-trillion dollars in record revenue.

Last year Walmart U.S. opened 30 Supercenters, converted nine discount stores into Supercenters and closed six discount stores. The retailer opened 85 new Neighborhood Market locations last year and closed 20, according to the company’s recent annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Between fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018, Walmart’s U.S. store count rose by 89, which was the fewest number of stores opened by the retailer in decades. In fiscal years 2015 and 2016 Walmart opened 396 new Neighborhood Market locations. In those same two years 134 new Supercenters were built and opened.