Walmart is accelerating the expansion of small stores, particularly its Neighborhood Market stores, as it looks to compete with a variety of rivals from dollar stores to drug chains.
“This gives us the opportunity to build more stores for less money,” Bill Simon, president of Walmart’s U.S. division told Wall Street analysts at a meeting near its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. Simon said it plans to have 500 Neighborhood Market stores and 12 Express stores by fiscal 2016. As of the end of July, Walmart had 10 Express stores and had ramped up its Neighborhood Market concept to 217 locations. In its international business, which accounts for about a quarter of its business, Walmart reiterated that it will be slowing expansion growth in China and Brazil as it works to make those stores more productive. And while it won’t miss an opportunity to make an acquisition overseas, it’s primarily focusing on existing markets.