Walmart hires remodeling squad
Walmart over the last year has quietly introduced “SWAT teams” of remodeling specialists as it steps up its upgrades to 500 U.S. locations annually.
In a blog entry, Walmart described the amount of work that goes into a remodel as “staggering.”
Previously, the discount giant hired up to 60 temporary associates within a couple of weeks to complete a 12-week remodel and found that placed too much pressure on store managers.
The job entails receiving and assembling store fixtures as well as moving and setting merchandise. Full-time associates are being promoted to these positions because the learning curve for temps was a “significant hurdle to overcome.”
According to Walmart’s Career page, a Remodel Associate position also requires helping customers in need, including finding items “that may not be in the usual places,” in addition to stocking products and unloading trucks.
More than 1,000 associates have been hired over the last year for the remodel teams. Each team consists of about 30 employees. They generally focus on urban markets with high store concentrations. The starting rate of $16 per hour is well above Walmart’s $11 starting wage and a few dollars more than the average department manager starting wage.
Over 400 more remodel associates will be hired to cover 15 markets in early 2020. The goal for these teams is to finish around 100 remodels and participate in hundreds more special projects in 2020. Walmart said the new teams “allow us to have knowledgeable, caring associate talent working on our remodels. Both customers and associates benefit from that.”
Target and Best Buy are among those with separate remodeling teams, according to Bloomberg. Remodels overall have received more focus as retailers work to add omnichannel capabilities to stores. New store growth for many have slowed as online selling reduces the need for as many stores per market.
John Mulligan, Target’s COO, said on the retailer’s third-quarter conference call, “We continue to see remodel sales lifts in line with our assumptions, and we see a meaningful second year lift that wasn’t originally part of our modeling for these projects.”
- Store Remodel Teams are Building New Career Paths for Hundreds of Associates – Walmart
- Remodel Associate – Walmart
- Walmart Taps ‘SWAT Teams’ to Handle 500 Store Remodels a Year – Bloomberg
- Walmart Recruiting ‘SWAT’ Teams to Execute 500 Store Remodels a Year – RIS News
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do retailers need a better (i.e., faster) plan for executing remodels given the demands of the marketplace? What advice do you have around execution?