Walmart’s New Pet-Centric Venture Signals a Paw-sitive Shift in Retail Strategy

Walmart is opening a specialized pet services center in Dallas, Georgia, expanding its pet business to include health care and other services alongside its traditional pet product offerings.

This marks Walmart’s entry into a more profitable segment of the pet industry. The center will be staffed by employees from pet care company PetIQ and will serve as a pilot location, with plans for more centers in the future.

According to a Morgan Stanley study, around 40% of the total pet industry revenue comes from services.

Walmart aims to tap into the $35.9 billion pet care and products market, especially as consumers continue to prioritize their pets’ health and well-being. In addition to pet services, Walmart is also launching a subscription-based offering for automated frequent pet food and supply orders.

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Walmart and Kroger Place Their Bets on the Struggling Indoor Farming Industry

Indoor farming companies like Eden Green Technology are gaining momentum as they aim to produce fresh produce year-round while reducing water and land usage and protecting crops from climate change. However, some rivals are struggling or filing for bankruptcy. Plenty Unlimited is investing $300 million in a new facility, and Kroger is expanding its availability of vertically farmed produce. Critics argue that high energy costs associated with artificial lighting can make profitability difficult for indoor farming. Some experts believe that investing in practical solutions for outdoor farming or climate initiatives might be more beneficial than expanding indoor farming operations. Pest control and scaling up operations are also challenges faced by indoor farms. However, some companies are confident in their approaches, such as relying on natural light or efficient lighting systems. Walmart has invested in Plenty, but skepticism remains about the overall profitability of indoor farming.

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Walmart reduces starting pay for some store level associates

Walmart has reduced starting wages for new store associates handling online orders and stocking shelves, resulting in a roughly one-dollar-per-hour pay cut for recent hires.

However, current associates in these roles are unaffected, and some experienced workers received wage increases due to adjusted pay bands.

Walmart cites the move as an effort to maintain consistent starting pay across various roles, enhance staffing stability and customer service, and provide career development opportunities for associates.

Despite these changes, Walmart continues to report strong online sales growth, with a 24% year-over-year increase in e-commerce sales in its most recent fiscal quarter, which has positively impacted its stock performance.

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