Walmart rolls out stylish new store design

Walmart has updated five flagship stores, including a large store in Teterboro, New Jersey. The refurbished stores have brighter lighting, mannequins and more spacious aisles.

Melissa Repko | CNBC

As walmartInexpensive products are attracting shoppers, the retailer is implementing a new strategy aimed at attracting them to other aisles: stores with brighter lighting, fashion mannequins and colorful displays of cosmetics, pet supplies and more.

A major retailer known for competing on value has turned five of its SuperCenters into flagship stores with a redesigned look. They are located in Teterboro and North Bergen in New Jersey; Yafank, New York; Quakertown, Pennsylvania; and Hodgkins, Illinois. All flagships have debuted in the last three months – North Bergen and Teterboro opened in mid-January.

And at least one more is on the way: a store renovation in Secaucus, New Jersey, is slated for next month.

Walmart’s more eye-catching appearance is part of a broader effort to sell more discretionary items such as jeans, lipstick and baby strollers, which typically generate higher margins than groceries. Last summer, the company tested a sleeker model at one of its larger stores in Springdale, Arkansas, near the company’s headquarters.

Alvis Washington, Walmart’s vice president of marketing, store design, innovation and experience, said it was time to bring this image to other markets after receiving positive feedback in Arkansas. In company surveys, he said that nearly every shopper said the storefronts and mannequins motivated them to browse longer.

“They appreciate the fact that we remain true to who we are at Walmart,” he said. “Great prices. Plus, we now have these new brands that we actually showcase in inspiring ways.”

Walmart’s new store design includes display cases that showcase how a shopper can decorate a nursery or kitchen. The displays also include a QR code that brings up more items on the Walmart website.

Melissa Repko | CNBC

The company reconstructs stores and copies some of the features of competitors’ stores. Target — at a time when more high-income households are shopping at the retail giant. According to CFO John David Rainey, over the past two quarters, about 75% of the growth in food market share comes from households that earn more than $100,000 a year.

These shoppers could be new audiences for exclusive Walmart brands, such as the style and value-driven sportswear brand Love & Sports, designed with fashion designer Michelle Smith and SoulCycle instructor Stacey Griffith, and the Beautiful kitchen and home décor line, which was designed with Drew Barrymore. It also has a range of clothing from national brands such as Levi Strauss, Wrangler and Reebok.

“They were kind of a one-trick pony,” said Scott Mushkin, retail analyst and CEO of R5 Capital. “They’ve always been about price, and what they’re doing now, yes, they’re still leading the price. But they’re starting to accelerate momentum in stores that matter to other people along with value.”

He said it’s notable that Walmart has chosen to revamp some stores near New York City, a competitive market in which it has struggled with previous attempts to gain momentum.

Mushkin was a critic of Walmart for its sleazy stores, but changed his mind. He said store managers and employees have made a difference. And he said that along with clearer shelves and neater display cases, Walmart has shown its savvy by working more with well-known brands and developing more stylish private labels.

At Walmart’s flagship stores, such as Teterboro, New Jersey, Walmart showcases many of its exclusive brands, such as its sportswear brand, Love & Sports and Beautiful, a line of kitchen and home decor designed with Drew Barrymore.

Melissa Repko | CNBC

Walmart declined to say how many of its roughly 4,700 U.S. stores will get the new look. Through a spokesperson, the company said it will share its refurbishment and capital expenditure plans for the fiscal year when it reports earnings in late February. The company did not say how much it spent on the changes or how much they cost compared to other modifications.

However, Washington has already said some elements of the remodeled store, such as display cases showcasing Walmart clothing brands, have been added to 30 stores.

As of the third quarter ending October 31, the retailer had completed about 500 store renovations in the US. In the last fiscal year, about 600 were made, and in the previous fiscal year, about 500 were made.

However, Walmart must prove that its revamped stores can convince shoppers to spend even if they feel inflation and think twice before buying more than they need. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in an interview with CNBC this summer that even more affluent customers are more price sensitive due to high inflation.

The company revised its guidance for the fiscal year ending at the end of January, saying it expects same-store sales to be higher in the US, but margins will be lower as shoppers buy more groceries and fewer essentials.

Walmart’s new store design showcases many discretionary items that typically have higher margins than groceries, including cosmetics and other beauty products.

Melissa Repko | CNBC

Washington declined to share traffic data for Walmart stores and sales at the Springdale store and other flagship stores that have opened in recent months.

However, the new store design appears to be resonating with shoppers, according to, an analytics firm that uses anonymous data from mobile devices to estimate total store visits.

The number of visits to his Walmart store in Springdale, Arkansas – the original prototype – was much higher than the average for Walmart or Target. In the fourth quarter, the store received 31.2% more visits than the average Walmart during that period. It received 66.6% more hits than the average Target during that time.

Some of this extra foot traffic may be due to Walmart’s hometown advantage and the presence of a large number of employees who live nearby and shop at the store.

But the new layout is gaining sympathy outside of Arkansas as well.

Victor Millan of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, goes to the Walmart store in Teterboro weekly for groceries and other merchandise. Since the store debuted its new look about two weeks ago, the 45-year-old father of four has said he’s been spending more time at the revamped Walmart — about twice as long in a single visit, from about half an hour to an hour and a half. hour.

On Thursday, when he was looking for a pair of Wrangler jeans, Millan said he thinks the store now offers higher quality clothing, and there are plenty of them.

“I’m not a big fan of buying clothes,” he said, “but they have so many things.”

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