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Walmart can't do a toddler

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If you feel like cooking yourself a formidable dinner after work, you don't have to first get into the car and drive to the edge of town to disappear into a supermarket hangar. Instead, go to the shop around the corner. It's just stupid when these shops around the corner belong to the competition, the American retail giant Walmart noticed in 2011 and started opening the first stores that don't have a parking lot the size of a football stadium in front of the door.

Three years later, "Walmart Express" was such a great success that US boss Bill Simon promised a whole lot more of it:

“The needs and expectations of customers are changing. They want to shop when and how they want, and we are changing to meet those expectations. "

Two weeks ago, Walmart President Doug McMillon indirectly stated that it was nonsense and announced that it would close 269 stores worldwide - including all 102 Walmart Express stores in the United States.


McMillon didn't say how it can be that Walmart got into doubt in such a short time from raving about it. Just that his company wants to focus again on the giant supercentres that Walmart is known for and want to continue to operate local shops.

The "Walmart Neighborhood Markets" are not exactly what most Europeans would understand them to be. While the Express branches were about the size of a modern Aldi with 1000 to 1300 square meters, a neighborhood market easily covers 3700 square meters - in this country that is almost at the bottom of what Kaufland is now coming to terms with (e.g. soon in Berlin) .

And looks like this:

There are several ways to explain why Walmart is giving up its express stores. One is that customers are getting used to ordering fresh food online and having it delivered to their home. The more flexible the systems (like Amazon Fresh) become, the more unnecessary a visit to the supermarket around the corner becomes.

At the same time, customers who value fresh, organically grown fruit and vegetables do not necessarily buy from Walmart, but rather from the organic competition.

The Wall Street Journal anticipated the other possible explanation in 2012: the Walmart system is simply not designed to supply small inner-city markets. But on mass. In some cases, the same pack sizes were offered in the express branches as in the shopping hangars on the outskirts, completely ignoring the actual needs of customers. The group believed that it could transfer the shopping experience from its supercenters to shops that only have a tenth of the space. That didn `t work. Neither does the strategy of simply renaming the small shops.

Obviously, as with its failure in Germany, the world's largest supermarket group is not so good at varying its strategy for locations and markets that do not function according to the same rules as the supercenters.

In addition to 50 to 60 new shopping hangars, 85 to 95 new neighborhood markets will be opened in the new financial year, explains Walmart. Something has to be there that can be closed again in two years.

Photos: Walmart