Walmart to Add 300 Small Format Stores; Expand Home Delivery Service

Walmart (NYSE: WMT) plans to add around 300 smaller format stores in fiscal year 2013 and 2014, outpacing its supercenter growth. Walmart will open 240 additional supercenters during the same time period, the company said at its annual shareholder meeting earlier this week in Bentonville, Ark. To boost efficiency, Walmart said it will tether the small stores to supercenters, which will act as mini warehouse hubs for the smaller formats.

Plus, Walmart plans to expand its same-day grocery delivery service, to Denver, Colo., after testing the service in San Jose and San Francisco for two years. Walmart's expansion further pits the world's largest retailer against Amazon's same-day grocery delivery service, AmazonFresh. AmazonFresh is already operating in Seattle, Wash., and Los Angeles, Calif., and the e-tailer reportedly plans to expand the service to the San Francisco area.

Meanwhile, Walmart CEO Mike Duke said the retailer expects its overall sales to rise to between $475 billion and $480 billion this fiscal year, a gain of about 1.9 percent to 3 percent over last year's $466.11 billion.

Walmart's same-store sales fell 0.3 percent in the second quarter. Even though Wal-Mart expects its net sales for the full year to grow between 2 percent and 3 percent, that's down from previous estimates of 5 percent to 6 percent.

To boost productivity, Walmart is closing 50 under-performing stores in China and Brazil. However, the move represents only 2 percent to 3 percent of the retailer's sales in those countries and it continues to add new stores there.

Walmart is also trying to get a jump on holiday sales. More than one million people have already signed up for its holiday layaway. Four of the top five items on layaway are devices including Google's Nexus tablets, HP's HP 2000 laptop, the Hisense Sero 7 tablet, and Fuhu Inc's nabi 2 Kids' tablets.

For more, see:
This Reuters article
This Tri-City Herald article
This TechCrunch article

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