Sunday, June 23, 2024

Walmart to invest nearly US $1.5B in Mexico and region this year

Walmart plans to invest US $1.49 billion in Mexico and Central America this year, the company said on Tuesday. 

The amount represents an increase of 27% over 2022, when the company spent about US $1.1 billion. Last year’s investment was lower than anticipated due to supply chain disruptions, the company reported last month.

A Bodega Aurrera store in Mexico
Bodega Aurrerá is a brand aimed at providing value goods to lower-income shoppers (Walmart)

Of the total investment, about 45% will be allocated towards remodeling and maintenance of existing stores while 29% will go to the construction of new sites, which are expected to boost sales by between 1.2% and 1.4%. The company hopes to make its stores more sustainable and efficient, and to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. 

“The main vehicle for growth will continue to be the Bodega,” CEO of Walmart Mexico and Central America Guilherme Loureiro said, referring to the small format Bodega Aurrerá stores aimed at lower-income consumers. 

Another 13% will go towards technology and e-commerce projects to improve the online shopping experience and boost automation. A further 12% will be dedicated to expanding and modernizing the company’s supply chains. 

According to Loureiro, there are three strategic priorities in the region: providing discounts, offering a unified brand experience and becoming the preferred ecosystem for consumers. To achieve these goals, he said, the company will focus on customer service, logistics, technology and talent acquisition. 

During Tuesday’s event, Walmart also announced that Mexico’s financial authorities approved its purchase of an electronic payment provider. While the name of the company was not disclosed, Walmart noted that the takeover will improve its financial services ecosystem. The transaction will likely complete within the next few weeks, the company said. 

It also disclosed the launch of a health membership product, which will expand medical services across Wamart’s 1,500 pharmacies and 500 doctor’s offices throughout the region. 

“For $30 pesos, our customers can have access to unlimited remote medical service 24/7, nutrition services, ambulance use in case of an emergency, discounts on specialists… and a 5% discount at our pharmacies and consultations at our doctor’s offices,” Walmart Mexico and Central America’s chief growth officer Beatriz Nuñez said on Tuesday. 

“In 2023, we want to develop health as a strong vertical. It is still in its very early stages, but we know how relevant it is for our customers.” 

With reports from Forbes and Reuters

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