In a recent interview with Reuters, Bill Simon, the president and CEO of Walmart's U.S. business, said the recent improvements in the national economy have not found their way to the chain's cash registers.
"It's really hard to see in our business today ... that it's gotten any better," he told the news service.
Walmart, which has seen traffic drop for six straight quarters and same-store sales decline for five, is ramping up the rollout of smaller format stores, including its Neighborhood Market, Walmart To Go and Express concepts, to try and reinvigorate its business. The goal is for smaller stores to fill market opportunities in urban and rural areas not fully supported by the chain's supercenters.
Earlier this week, the News-Journal (Longview, TX) reported that the retailer was scouting sites to open Walmart Express stores in East Texas.
In Tatum, TX, Walmart is moving into a small market currently served by a B&B Food store as well as Dollar General and Family Dollar.
"I think smaller communities like ours — our people do have a tendency to drive out of town to do a lot of their business," Tatum Mayor Phil Cory told the News-Journal. "I don't know how to project it, but it might mean that some of that business might stay more local."
Which of Walmart's three smaller store concepts — Walmart Neighborhood Market, Walmart Express and Walmart To Go — do you think has the greatest potential to boost the company's sales?