Walmart to Add 150 U.S. Stores in Five-Year Expansion Drive

Walmart to Add 150 U.S. Stores in Five-Year Expansion Drive

Walmart will add 150 stores in the United States over the next five years, a major expansion drive for the retail giant.

The company said the move, which it announced in a statement on Wednesday, would involve millions of dollars in investment. Walmart employs roughly 1.6 million people in the United States, and said it hires hundreds of people each time it opens a new store.

Walmart had just over 4,600 stores nationwide at the end of October, down from more than 4,700 a year earlier. The company has not opened a new U.S. store since late 2021.

Most of the stores that Walmart plans to open will be newly built, while others will be conversions of existing locations to new formats. The first two new stores will open in the spring, in Florida and Georgia, and the company is completing construction plans for 12 other stores this year. It also said it would remodel 650 locations.

Walmart announced this week that it was raising salaries and benefits for store managers and offering them stock grants.

The company reported sharply higher profit in the first three quarters of 2023, and its share price is hovering near a record high. It has yet to report earnings for its most recent quarter, which included the holiday season.

Consumer spending, which powers the U.S. economy, has been resilient even though shoppers have been squeezed by high inflation and rising interest rates. Credit card data from the holiday season showed retail sales increased from a year earlier.

“This is a huge vote of confidence in the American consumer,” Craig Johnson, the founder of the retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners, said of Walmart’s announcement.

Mr. Johnson said investors might be concerned over how this could affect Walmart’s Sam’s Club stores, which have increasingly moved from a destination for business owners to stock up on supplies to a place where individuals shop for groceries.

Walmart’s choice to open new stores and remodel some existing ones reflects the company’s focus on enhancing its in-store and pickup experiences even as e-commerce has gained popularity, said Edward Yruma, an analyst at the investment bank Piper Sandler.

“As we settle into the new normal, what we’ve come to is that the consumer likes great, physical retail locations,” he said.

Jordyn Holman contributed reporting.