Jun 3, 2022 - Economy & Business

Walmart adding 4 fulfillment centers, 4,000-plus jobs

Walmart box on conveyor belt in new fulfillment center

Walmart plans to open four new fulfillment centers by 2023. Photo: Walmart

Your future Walmart online orders could soon arrive faster.

Driving the news: The nation's largest retailer announced Friday that it will open four "next generation" fulfillment centers over the next three years, which will provide 75% of the U.S. with next- and two-day shipping on millions of items.

  • The company said the four centers will rely heavily on automation and be the "first of their kind for Walmart" using a combination of "people, robotics, and machine learning."
  • The first will open this summer in Joliet, Illinois, and is 1.1 million square feet.
  • The other centers will be in McCordsville, Indiana; Lancaster, Texas; and Greencastle, Pennsylvania — with each planning to hire more than 1,000 new workers.

Why it matters: Consumers have been shopping online at a greater rate since the pandemic.

  • According to a March report from Adobe, U.S. consumers spent $1.7 trillion online between March 2020 and February 2022, $609 billion more than in the two preceding years.

What's next: Walmart said its priority is to "strategically locate" the centers to pair "most effectively with our 4,700 stores and 210 distribution centers."

  • Walmart has 31 existing dedicated e-commerce fulfillment centers and with the new centers said it will be able to reach 95% of the U.S. population with next- or two-day shipping.

What they're saying: "Together, this system of fulfillment assets is optimized to get orders to customers fast and efficiently," David Guggina, senior vice president of innovation and automation at Walmart U.S., wrote in a blog post.

Walmart taking on Amazon

Meanwhile, Axios' Hope King and Alex Golden report that Walmart is investing heavily to catch up as its own e-commerce business has grown, an area where Amazon has excelled.

  • Amazon had 253 fulfillment centers, 110 sortation centers, and 467 delivery stations in North America, not to mention hundreds of thousands of drivers and over 100 Amazon Air cargo aircraft, as of the end of 2021.
  • Amazon has been spending billions to open new physical stores.
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