Walmart is a bit of an enigma, isn’t it? I rarely meet anyone who enjoys shopping there, and the company itself has an atrocious PR imagine, yet it still manages to be an absolute corporate powerhouse.
But when it comes to Walmart, most of us picture their massive 24-hour “supercenters” that sell everything from groceries to semi-automatic rifles and even swimming pools.
Heck, in many of them you can even do your banking, get your haircut, and buy a Subway sandwich for lunch.
But one of the biggest drawbacks to these supercenters is their size. Most people don’t just “pop in” to a Walmart. If you happen to need 2 or 3 items that might be on opposite ends of the store, you’re probably going to end up walking nearly a half mile before you get back to your car.
Which is one of the main factors leading to a continuing decline in sales.
Only this decline in sales isn’t actually threatening to bring down Walmart as the unheralded retail leader.
It’s actually created an entirely new beast altogether.
See, what Walmart is doing now (in addition to their multitude of supercenters) is building smaller versions of Walmart.
The Walmart Neighborhood Market isn’t all that uncommon, at least not here in Texas. It’s essentially just a version of Walmart that mainly focuses on groceries. Amid Walmart’s declining overall sales, these locations have actually shown rising earnings.
Another new layout they’re rolling out is called Walmart Express. It’s smaller than the Walmart Neighborhood stories, basically the size of a CVS pharmacy. They’re referring to these as their “small-footprint” retail stores. Here in DFW we’re actually getting Texas’ first one in the town of Palmer. A tiny town about 25 miles south of downtown Dallas.
Oh, but Walmart hasn’t stopped there.
They’re also testing out a store called Walmart To-Go. A store that’s described as an upscale version of your local convenience store. Right now they only have one of these types of stores, near their home office in Bentonville, Arkansas.
So, soon it might be theoretically possible that your neighborhood might have a giant Walmart Supercenter, a smaller Walmart Neighborhood Market, a CVS pharmacy-sized Walmart Express and a Walmart To-Go convenience store.
In places where it wasn’t economically feasible to build one of their giant supercenters – towns where small businesses often thrive – they can now build these trimmed down versions of Walmart to really hurt just about every small business in any town where they feel like opening shop.
But it’s not just local businesses in small towns that will be hurt by these stores. Companies like Walgreens and CVS will also be hindered as Walmart is now venturing into their realm of retail sales and will almost certainly deal a blow to their revenue.
Not to mention many convenient stores are operated by local business owners, who undoubtedly won’t be able to compete with a scaled-down Walmart next door directly competing with their store.
Because whether it’s a national company like CVS, your local small town grocery store or that corner gas station owned and operated by a member of your community, none of them will be able to undercut Walmart’s prices.
And as much as people will say they’ll be loyal to small businesses, it’s indisputable that revenue will be drastically impacted by these new Walmart brands.
At some point enough has got to be enough, right?
I fully believe if Walmart had its way, it would try to put just about every single potential competitor it possibly could out of business.
And with these latest moves, that seems to be exactly what they’re trying to do.