Walmart introduces new grocery drive-through concept

Walmart (NYSE: WMT) has revealed plans for its latest grocery format, a standalone center which will include a drive-through window where shoppers can pick up their online orders.

The new format will only service online orders, like a mini fulfillment center, explained Bill Simon, CEO of Walmart U.S. during a speech at the Raymond James investors conference in Orlando.

The proposed location for the site is in Bentonville, Arkansas and measures 15,000 square feet. It will carry 10,000 fresh and dry grocery products for customers to order from online. Once the online order is placed, shoppers can schedule a pickup time, drive up to the center and place a call to Walmart associates who then bring their grocery order to the car.

The retailer has tested drive-through pick-up options for online orders in 11 stores in the Denver area, which have earned a 90 percent approval rating among shoppers.

"We know at Walmart our customers' needs are changing. They want and need more shopping options and we have the means to give them low prices, wide assortments along with value and convenience in a seamless shopping experience," Deisha Barnett, corporate spokeswoman for Walmart Stores, told The City Wire.

Walmart shared its plans for the new drive-through concept location with Bentonville city officials on April 29, reports The City Wire. The proposed development goes to the city planning commission on May 6.

This marks the second test of a new format in the Bentonville area for Walmart. In March, the retailer celebrated the grand opening of its first Walmart To Go store. The convenience store format offers the ease of a 7-Eleven but with fresh grocery and hot food offerings. Walmart to Go builds on the retailer's grocery delivery service of the same name which launched in 2011, in San Jose and San Francisco. The program was expanded to Denver in October 2013.

Walmart in February said it would be revving up expansion of small-format stores. The retailer announced plans to build 270 to 300 small stores in the next 12 months, doubling its initial forecast of 120 to 150.

For more:
-See this City Wire article

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