Just a handful of years into its Express concept Walmart announced Friday, Jan. 15, it plans to close all 102 of the small-format stores, amid a larger announcement that it was shuttering 269 total stores this year.
According to a report by The Washington Post, Walmart is shifting to a focus on improving its supercenters and grocery-centric Neighborhood Market stores.
The store closures are expected to impact 16,000 jobs internationally, some 10,000 in the U.S. Despite the store closings, Walmart still plans to open more than 300 stores in the next year, including 50-60 supercenters in the U.S. and 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets.
Walmart had been testing the Express concept since 2011. Walmart Express combined the type of products one might find at a dollar store and small grocery with convenience–oriented food products as it looked to capture the fill-in shopper. The smaller footprint also was intended to help Walmart move into neighborhoods where its superstores wouldn’t fit or make sense.
The Washington Post pointed out that as Walmart announces its pullback, rival Target is in the process of growing its own fleet of small-format stores.