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Business Insider reports that Walmart "appears to be abandoning" the pickup-and-delivery store model, with the closure of the two remaining test units - in Illinois and Arkansas - slated to be shuttered this week.  A third version, in Louisiana, already has been closed.

According to the story, "The Bentonville location took up 15,000 square feet of space for produce, meats and frozen foods and other consumables … the Lincolnwood location was much larger, occupying roughly 42,000 square feet."

Business Insider writes that "Walmart's decision to close these stores, where customers placed orders on or the Walmart app, comes as the company has seen ecommerce growth slow greatly."

KC's View:

To me, this represents an interesting conundrum.  On the one hand, if e-commerce growth seems to be slowing down because of economic factors, maybe these units simply are not being as productive as necessary, and so deserve to be closed.

But, it seems to be that the current economic factors will not last forever, and that at some point it is likely that we'll see an e-commerce resurgence.  Maybe its speed won't be to the degree that it was growing during the pandemic, but to expect that things will simply go back to the way they were strikes me as naïve.

To me, what is interesting is not the fact the Walmart is shutting down this test, but what it may have on the drawing board for a year or two from now.  What's the next iteration?

In the same way that I thought it was critical for retailers in 2020 and 2021 to be planning for a post-pandemic existence, figuring out how they needed to be different when those circumstances ended, it is equally important for retailers now to be thinking about their post-inflation/recession/recessionary mindset existence.  To think about the present only is to be focused on the tactical, which is a mistake.