In a Surprise Move, Walmart Plans New Stores in the U.S.

In a reversal from its recent strategy, Walmart plans to open or expand 150 stores in the U.S. over the next five years, with most stores targeted in the project will be new locations.

Walmart began to cut back on opening new stores in 2016 as a response to the growth of Amazon and the popularity of online ordering. In fact, Walmart hasn’t opened a new U.S. supercenter in about two years.

In a staff memo, Walmart said it would open around 12 new stores this year and convert one smaller location to a Walmart Supercenter, stores which sell everything from food to large appliances. Over the next few years Walmart will also convert several smaller-format stores to Supercenters, in addition to building new locations.

“We plan to build new stores in a way that we have not done in many years,” said a Walmart spokeswoman. She declined to share the cost of adding and expanding locations or where they will be.

Walmart, which has over 4,600 U.S. locations, projects that by 2025, 65% of its stores will be serviced by automation. Walmart said 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.