Stores

Walmart to open five automated fresh food distribution centers as it grows grocery biz

Meanwhile, Kroger continues to work toward regulatory approval for its proposed merger with Albertsons.
article cover

Walmart

less than 3 min read

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.

In an effort to bolster its grocery business, Walmart this week announced it’s opening five automated distribution centers for fresh food.

The first of its high-tech distribution centers, in Shafter, California, has been open since 2021. Locations in Lancaster, Texas; Wellford, South Carolina; Belvidere, Illinois; and Pilesgrove, New Jersey, will follow. The facilities are about 700,000 square feet, per CNBC.

  • Walmart also said it will add 500,000+ square feet of automation per site to four other facilities to boost capacity for perishable food, and upgrade its Winter Haven, Florida center.

The facilities will collectively create 2,000 new jobs, and shift some jobs from manual labor to automation equipment operators.

“We remain committed to meeting customer demand, embracing technology, and bringing our people alongside the technology as we transform our supply chain,” Dave Guggina, EVP of supply chain operations for Walmart US, said in a statement.

The new distribution centers can store twice as many cases and process double the volume compared to its typical centers. The automated system builds pallets for stores, either for products to be sold at stores or for shoppers’ e-commerce orders, organized by department, and can intelligently layer them with more fragile items like eggs on top, Guggina said.

Walmart, the country’s largest grocery retailer, sells food at 4,600+ stores.

Kroger, the second largest grocer in the US, continues to work on its merger with Albertsons, despite an FTC lawsuit, in an attempt to compete with Amazon and Walmart. This week, it revealed the full list of stores in the divestiture deal it struck last year with C&S Wholesale Grocers. The list, which was bumped up from 413 stores to 579 in April, includes 124 stores in Washington state, 101 in Arizona, and 91 in Colorado. A trial to determine the outcome of the deal will take place in August.

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.