Walmart Plans To Build 4 High-Tech Fulfillment Centers As Amazon Growth Slows
Walmart plans to open four new high-tech fulfillment stores in the next two years to provide products to customers and Walmart+ members in East Coast and Midwest markets as it battles Amazon for e-commerce traffic.
The retail giant, which purchased the properties for an undisclosed amount, announced the development of three locations in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Illinois with the fourth site still undisclosed. More than 5.9M SF will be developed by 2024. providing 3,000 new jobs. The centers will give shoppers access to next or two-day shipping on items purchased online.
“Our new next generation fulfillment center is a first-of-its-kind for Walmart that will transform the way we ship online orders to customers,” said David Guggina, senior vice president, automation and innovation at Walmart in a release. “Through our automated storage system and patent-pending five step process, we’ll not only provide increased comfort for associates but also double the storage capacity and double the number of customer orders we’re able to fulfill in a day.”
The new facilities represent just one step Walmart has taken to compete with Amazon’s online platform. The chain has been ramping up its e-commerce capabilities with launch pads for delivery drones and departure locations for direct-to-fridge drop-offs.
The coronavirus pandemic gave Walmart a leg up in the online retail space, ushering in an influx in sales, especially through the curbside pickup service it launched last year in response, CNBC reported.
This news comes as Amazon begins to pull back on growth, most recently announcing it would sublease at least 10M SF of warehouse space to get rid of excess capacity. That makes up a small percentage of the company's warehouse stock, however, with more than 370M SF of leased space and another 16.6M SF under direct Amazon ownership in North America, according to its 2021 annual report.