Redone Walmart stores reopening

$500M remodel of 117 stores part of plan for $9B project

Walmart-Doula FILE - A customer loads a car after shopping at a Walmart in Philadelphia, Nov. 17, 2021. Walmart, the nation's largest private employer, is expanding nationwide its health care coverage next month for employees who want to enlist the services of a doula, a person trained to assist women during pregnancies. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file)

Walmart is reopening 117 stores across 30 states this week that it remodeled at a price tag of more than $500 million, the company said Tuesday.

The remodels are part of a rolling $9 billion investment over 2022 and this year to upgrade and modernize more than 1,400 Supercenters and Neighborhood Market stores across the country, said John Furner, president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S.

"These construction investments allow us to create more local jobs and make it easier for our associates to get customers what they want when they want it," Furner said.

Seven stores in Arkansas were remodeled this year, including one in Bentonville, Walmart spokesman Josh Havens said. In 2022, he said, 45 stores got the same treatment, including stores in Rogers, Bentonville, Fayetteville, Springdale, Siloam Springs and Pea Ridge.

The Bentonville-based retailer has more than 4,700 U.S. stores.

Having 117 stores reopen on one day "is a huge deal," said Hunter Hart, senior vice president of Walmart Realty.

"It's the largest single-day rollout of re-grand openings in the history of Walmart," Hart said.

Each of the remodeled stores "is designed to deliver a more modern shopping experience and improve the lives of our associates and customers from the moment they step into the new space," Hart said.

Walmart's store makeover features range from cosmetic changes such as new paint, flooring, lighting and signage to shopper conveniences such as more shopping carts, a new "Grab and Go" section with quick meal and drink choices, and checkout options that include both staff- and self-checkout lanes.

Then there are the shopper experiences, such as displays that let customers see and touch products out of their boxes; and larger pharmacies, now near the front of the stores, with private screening rooms for pharmacist consultations and services.

Besides all the changes made to enhance shoppers' experience in stores, the redesign also gave more space for Walmart's growing pickup and delivery services as customers continue to embrace online grocery ordering.

In fact, more room throughout the stores is a key element of the redesign.

"We've laid out our reopened stores to feature more space, making exploration and experience easier than ever," Hart said.

"While this is good news for our customers, it's great news for our associates, whose jobs become easier when space expands," Hart said.

Despite the ceremonies and ribbon cuttings planned for Friday's official "grand re-opening" of its remodeled stores, they continued to operate throughout the construction process, Havens said.

Hart said the company plans to continue remodeling into 2024, "bringing updated stores to more of the communities we serve."

Havens said Walmart hasn't yet made a list of the stores that will get facelifts next year.

"We're a very collaborative group," Havens said. "We listen to our store managers, our associates and, of course, our customers" in deciding which stores are most in need of the remodels."