Walmart's (NYSE: WMT) largest planned warehouse helps it compete more effectively with online giant Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN). Already, the two are arguably the largest online retailers in the U.S.
In the first quarter of 2014, Walmart will open a 1 million-square-feet warehouse in Bethlehem, Penn. Plus, it began shipping orders from a 800,000-square-feet online fulfillment center in Fort Worth, Texas, last week.
Walmart's new fulfillment centers allow it to increase product selection online and ship packages more cost effectively to customers. The massive retailer plans to have 5 million stock-keeping units (SKUs) – more than double the number a year ago – online heading into this holiday season, Walmart CEO Joel Anderson said in a company statement.
For its part, Amazon is gearing up for the holiday season by hiring 70,000 full-time seasonal workers at its distribution centers, which number around 120.
Walmart is currently shipping from its 130 distribution centers and its stores. "With our dedicated online facilities and 4,100 stores within five miles of two-thirds of the U.S. population, we gain a significant advantage of being positioned in the most important location – close to our customers," Anderson said.
Walmart expects its e-commerce business to exceed $10 billion in sales globally this fiscal year.
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