Walmart to add 150 U.S. stores as part of five-year expansion

Walmart will add 150 stores in the United States over the next five years, a major expansion project for the retail giant.

The company said the move, announced in a statement statement Wednesday, it would involve millions of dollars of investment. Walmart employs about 1.6 million people in the United States and has said it hires hundreds of people every time it opens a new store.

At the end of October, Walmart had just over 4,600 stores nationwide, up from more than 4,700 a year earlier. The company has not opened a new store in the United States since late 2021.

Most of the stores Walmart plans to open will be new construction, while others will be conversions of existing locations to new formats. The first two new stores will open this spring, in Florida and Georgia, and the company is completing plans to build 12 more stores this year. It also announced it would renovate 650 sites.

Walmart announced this week that it was increasing store managers’ salaries and benefits and offering them stock grants.

The company reported sharply rising profits in the first three quarters of 2023 and its stock price is nearing a record high. It has yet to release results for its most recent quarter, which included the holiday season.

Consumer spending, which fuels the U.S. economy, held up even as shoppers were constrained by high inflation and rising interest rates. Credit card data from the holiday season showed that retail sales increased compared to the previous year.

“This is a huge vote of confidence in the American consumer,” Craig Johnson, founder of retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners, said of Walmart’s announcement.

Mr. Johnson said investors might worry about how that could affect Walmart’s Sam’s Club stores, which have increasingly gone from a place where business owners want to stock up on supplies to a place where individuals do their shopping.

Walmart’s choice to open new stores and renovate some existing stores reflects the company’s desire to improve its in-store and pickup experiences, even as e-commerce grows in popularity, analyst Edward Yruma said. at the investment bank Piper Sandler.

“As we settle into the new normal, we have come to the conclusion that the consumer likes large physical outlets,” he said.

Jordan Holman reports contributed.