Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) – Walmart Ditches Automated Pickup Towers For Higher Curbside Pickup: WSJ

  • Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) Eliminates Giant Automated Pickup Towers In Over 1,500 Stores To Deliver Online Orders. This reflects a growing focus on roadside pick-up services and a withdrawal from business automation initiatives, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • Walmart began removing or disabling the 17 foot tall machines last year. The retailer evacuated 300 machines from the stores and deactivated around 1,300 machines.
  • Customers reportedly preferred an off-store pickup location, according to a Walmart spokeswoman.
  • The pickup towers served as vending machines for online orders and held the items until they were picked up. Walmart strived to save the time and cost of collecting online orders through the machines.
  • Last year, Walmart stopped using Bossa Nova Robotics Inc’s gang roving and inventory tracking robots to achieve similar results with human effort.
  • Walmart has grown its online roadside grocery pickup and delivery business in recent years. The initiatives included expanding the service and non-commodity store range.
  • The pandemic has accelerated roadside ramp-up efforts. The retail giant is also considering an alternative use for the pickup towers.
  • John Furner, CEO of Walmart, had discontinued some of the consumer-facing automation technologies that were added to the stores under his predecessor.
  • The pickup machines were manufactured by Cleveron and sold through Bell & Howell. Cleveron announced its continued collaboration with Walmart in other areas.
  • Price action: WMT shares are trading unchanged at USD 141.20 in the premarket session on the last Check Thursday.

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