CDS Community Development Strategies
Most of the stores were opened in states where Walmart is entrenched as the dominant retailer. Stores also opened in exotic locales such as Naples (Texas), Dover (Tennessee), Damascus (Arkansas), Prague (Oklahoma), and Italy (Texas).
That Walmart stuck with the Express concept for so long is not surprising. It takes time to evaluate a new retail concept and Walmart has a precedent for patience. From 2009 to 2014 they conducted test runs for a pair of Latino-focused concepts, Mas Club and Supermercado De Walmart; both now extinct. What is surprising about the Walmart Express experiment is its size. While a drop in the bucket compared to Walmart’s entire portfolio, 102 stores seems more than just an experiment. In contrast, just a single Mas Club and only two Supermercado De Walmart stores were ever opened. The two Walmart Express stores in Chicago do seem comparable to these earlier experiments, and it is clear Walmart was disappointed with their performance early on as they did not expand the format further in urban markets. The decision to open 100 other locations, all in sparsely populated areas, remains puzzling.