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The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart plans to reverse its stated strategy of "keeping its store count flat" and "plans to open or expand 150 stores in the U.S. over the next five years."

According to the story, "In a staff memo sent Wednesday, Walmart said it would open around 12 new stores this year and convert one smaller location to a Walmart Supercenter, the large stores that sell everything from lettuce to vacuums. 

Over the next few years Walmart will convert several smaller-format stores to Supercenters, in addition to building new locations … Most stores targeted in the project will be new locations."

The Journal goes on:

"Walmart said Wednesday it also plans to remodel around 650 of its U.S. locations over the next 12 months. That is on top of upgrades to around 1,400 stores over the last two years, an effort that the company said cost around $9 billion.

"Walmart is also working to attract and retain store managers as the company expands its base of locations. The company recently sweetened bonuses for its store managers, promising the best ones annual compensation topping $400,000."

KC's View:

Walmart is leaning into a statistic that it often cites - that 90 percent of Americans live within 10 miles of one of its stores.  That proximity has proven to be an enormous and sustained advantage for Walmart, in terms of offering a physical shopping experience, being able to offer fast delivery (though this remains a work in progress), and just in terms of having a ubiquitous brand identity and value proposition.