Walmart China plans massive 2017 expansion

Walmart China announced its 2017 plans to open 30 to 40 new stores and remodel 50 existing stores at its annual Year Beginning Meeting (YBM) in Zhuhai last Wednesday.

Facing a fast-changing market, the retailer identified ‘stronger and faster’ as the development goal in 2017, accelerating online and offline collaboration. For 2017, Walmart plans to open 30 to 40 new stores in China, will introduce a new hypermarket model, and plans to invest more than RMB 300 million to upgrade approximately 50 stores and expand supply chain capacities.

Moreover, Walmart-owned Sam’s Club plans to open 3 to 5 new clubs in 2017, including in Beijing and Shenzhen, which already have two clubs respectively, as well as in new cities such as Nanchang, Nanjing and Changsha. Sam’s Club will also introduce more differentiated products to highlight member value and to drive sales by its private brand Member’s Mark and direct imports.

As for e-commerce, Walmart established a strategic alliance with JD in 2016, with key initiatives already in operation including Sam’s Flagship Club, Walmart Global Shop and express delivery by JDDJ. In 2017, Walmart will continue to deepen partnerships and strengthen online and offline collaborative services. Furthermore, Sam’s Club's self-managed e-commerce platform will further expand service scope and enhance fresh delivery services alongside the new club openings.

Dirk Van den Berghe, president and CEO, Walmart Asia and China, said, “We will continue our strategic alliance with JD and strengthen omni-channel approach, providing multiple e-commerce solutions for online ordering, home delivery and mobile payment, to create seamless online and offline shopping experience. At the same time, we will provide best fresh products, private brands and direct imports to our customers and deliver a differentiating competitive advantage and value proposition.”

The company recorded a strong sales growth and profit performance last year. According to its financial results, its net sales in China grew 5.4 percent in Q4 of fiscal year 2017 and comp sales increased 2.3 percent. Van den Berghe described it as “the best results over the past 5 years”.

In 2016, Walmart opened 24 new stores, including 21 hypermarkets and 3 Sam’s Clubs, and upgraded approximately 60 stores.