Walmart is looking to grow by thinking small.
Whether this initiative will eventually impact reusale pallet and container usage remains to be seen. We will revisit that a little further below. To quote the Washington Post (Here’s Walmart’s new strategy for being your everything):
In Walmart’s thinking, there are three types of shopping trips: There’s the stock-up mission, which brings families to Walmart’s 3,200 nationwide Supercenters. There’s the basic grocery run, when shoppers want to go someplace nearby and more navigable, such as one of Walmart’s 300 ‘neighborhood markets.’ And there’s the ‘immediate access’ stop, when shoppers head for the traditional convenience store. That convenience stop is the segment Walmart hasn’t really touched, except for a handful of ‘express’ stores in Arkansas.
Walmart told investors recently that it plans to build approximately 120 to 150 small format stores in the U.S. during the next fiscal year.
“We will accelerate growth of our Neighborhood Markets because of their strong returns, consistent comp sales performance and double-digit net sales increases,” said Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and CEO.
“We believe our multi-format portfolio will fuel the next generation of retail, enable the convergence of digital and physical store locations through e-commerce and unlock value, giving our customers anytime, anywhere access to Walmart,” added Simon. “We are positioned for sustainable growth and are the only company with a unique combination of large supercenters, small formats and a dotcom and mobile presence.”
If there is one thing that is certain, Walmart more than any other retailer places the importance of logistics front and center, and over the years it has profoundly influenced reusables through its early enthusiasm for RPCs and its acceptance of pallet rental. As this strategy is rolled out, it will be interesting to see if they approach convenience store replenishment any differently as it pertains to the selection of pallets and containers (maybe more rolling pallets or half pallets?), as well as with respect to their control, in terms of dwell time and exposure to loss.