Walmart is testing Walmart Pickup with Fuel, a store format so tiny that about 45 of them could fit in one of the retail giant’s super centers.
The new stores are 4,000 square feet and serve as pick up locations for online grocery orders. The stores will also sell gasoline and convenience store products.
In contrast, a typical Walmart super center is 180,000 square feet and offers 140,000 product SKUs.
So far, the retailer has opened two Walmart Pickup locations, including one in Thornton, Texas, at the end of November. The first location opened earlier this year in Alabama.
The stores are “one part convenience store, one part gas station and one part physical bet on the booming market for online grocery shopping,” The Denver Post reports.
Shoppers can buy snacks and small essentials at the stores when they buy gas. Or they can order groceries online to pick up from a drive-thru the same day.
Walmart was already selling groceries online that customers could pick up at its full-size stores, “But this new store concept is meant to make that process easier and more convenient, thanks in part to the small size of the stores and parking lots,” according to Business Insider.
The opening of the two tiny stores comes the same year Walmart closed all 102 of its Walmart Express locations. Walmart Express was the retailer’s prior test of small-format stores in the U.S. These locations ranged in size from 12,000 to 15,ooo square feet.
“Closing stores is never an easy decision, but it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future,” Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., said in January after announcing the coming closures of 269 stores, including the Walmart Express locations. “It’s important to remember that we’ll open well more than 300 stores around the world next year. So we are committed to growing, but we are being disciplined about it.”