Walmart eyes bigger share in Texas, Florida

U.S. store openings, remodels also to include tech-driven services

Bolstering its presence in two of the country’s most populous states, Walmart has earmarked $477 million to open and remodel more than 90 stores in Florida and Texas over the next year.

By state, Texas and Florida will see the largest allocations in Walmart’s $11 billion capital spending budget for fiscal 2019. The projects also will expand some of the retailer’s latest in-store and online services, including Walmart Online Grocery Pickup, Mobile Express Scan & Go and Walmart Pickup Towers.

Walmart said Thursday that, in Florida, it has allocated about $200 million for 43 store openings and remodels. The company plans six new stores (three in Miami-Fort Lauderdale, two in Jacksonville and one in central Florida) and 37 remodels (12 in Tampa Bay, 12 in central Florida, four in Miami-Fort Lauderdale, four in West Palm Beach, three in Jacksonville, one in southwestern Florida and one in the Florida Panhandle). A new distribution center also is slated to open in Cocoa, Fla., later this year.

“Customers have told us they want the convenience of shopping how, when and where they want,” Elise Vasquez-Warner, vice president and regional general manager for Walmart in Florida, said in a statement. “And here in Florida, we’ll achieve that by building off the momentum we had last year, accelerating the rollout of customer-centered innovations, creating more than 1,000 jobs this year alone and maintaining a sharp focus on improving our store experience.”

In Florida, the enhanced customer experience will include 80 new Grocery Pickup locations in 2018, adding to the 100 locations already in the state, Walmart said. The free service enables shoppers to order groceries from Walmart online and pick them up at a nearby store without having to leave their car.

Walmart said it’s currently evaluating opportunities to bring Mobile Express Scan & Go and Pickup Towers to more Florida stores.

Mobile Express Scan & Go was recently launched at more than 10 Walmart stores in Florida and is already offered at all 49 Sam’s Clubs in the state. Through the service, customers can scan items with their mobile devices while shopping in stores, pay immediately and avoid the checkout line.

Pickup Towers are available at more than 15 Florida Walmart stores. To use the towers, customers order on and choose the pickup option at checkout. The high-tech vending machines let shoppers pick up their online orders in less than a minute by scanning a bar code sent to their smartphone.

Bigger in Texas

In Texas, Walmart plans to spend $277 million — its biggest capital outlay by state — on four new stores and 45 remodels.

The stores being constructed are in Fort Worth, Fulshear, El Paso and Vidor. Eighteen of the remodels are in the Dallas-Forth Worth area and northern Texas, 12 are in greater Houston and nine are in central and southern Texas.

Grocery Pickup, now at 180 Texas stores, is set to expand to about 125 more locations in the state this year. Mobile Express Scan & Go is offered at all 85 Sam’s Clubs and over 20 Walmart stores in Texas, while Pickup Towers are at 17 Texas Walmart stores. Walmart said it will look to add more Scan & Go and Pickup Tower locations in Texas over this year.

By state, Texas has the biggest chunk of Walmart’s store base, with 508 Walmart locations and 85 Sam’s Club warehouse stores, as well as 19 distribution centers.

"With the continued rollout of new innovations, Walmart is re-envisioning the future of shopping right here in DFW," said Sonya Hostetler, vice president and regional general manager for Walmart in Texas. "Through updated stores and convenient new offerings like Online Grocery Pickup, Pickup Towers and Scan & Go, Walmart is working to save our customers time while exceeding their expectations."

Walmart posted a 2.1% gain in same-store sales for its 2018 fiscal year ended on Jan. 31 and said the uptick reflects its efforts to improve stores and step up the rollout of innovative services for faster and easier shopping.

Nationwide, Walmart aims to open 20 new stores and remodel almost 500 stores over the year. The company also is working to bring Online Grocery Pickup to 1,000 more stores and add about 500 Pickup Towers.

The retailer’s other capital expenditure plans this year in other states include:

California: One new store and 33 store remodels ($145 million)
Ohio: 27 remodels ($94 million)
Virginia: One new store and 13 remodels ($75 million)
New Jersey: One new store and 11 remodels ($68 million)
Illinois: 16 remodels ($56 million)
Washington: 16 remodels ($56 million)
Arizona: 15 remodels ($52 million)
New York: 15 remodels ($52 million)
Pennsylvania: 14 remodels ($49 million)
South Carolina: 12 remodels ($42 million)
Wisconsin: 12 remodels ($42 million)
Georgia: 11 remodels ($38 million)
Arkansas: Nine remodels ($31 million)
Tennessee: Nine remodels ($31 million)
Maryland: Eight remodels ($28 million)
Indiana: Seven remodels ($24 million)
Alabama: Five remodels ($17 million)

These states also will see the rollout or expansion of the Online Grocery Pickup, Mobile Express Scan & Go and Pickup Tower services, according to Walmart.

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