Walmart opened up its first pickup-and-delivery-only store in its headquarters city of Bentonville, Arkansas, in 2014.
The retailer appears to be abandoning the model by closing the concept's last 2 remaining stores.
The move comes as Walmart's e-commerce growth has greatly slowed since the height of the pandemic.
Long before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Walmart was working to boost its pickup and delivery options and encourage more customers to shop online.
The retail giant opened a pickup-and-delivery-only prototype grocery store in its headquarters city of Bentonville, Arkansas, in September 2014, allowing customers to order food without ever having to get out of their car. In fact, customers could not travel into the store.
A Walmart spokesman told the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette at the time the company would be using the store as a test to expand into other markets nationally.
But less than nine years after this launch, Walmart appears to be abandoning the concept as it closes the only two remaining standalone Walmart pickup and delivery stores in the country. Walmart spokeswoman Felicia McCranie confirmed to Insider that the company will be closing the pickup and delivery only stores in Bentonville and Lincolnwood, Illinois, on February 17.
"We are grateful to the customers who have given us the privilege of serving them at our Pickup and Delivery locations," McCranie said in an email. "We look forward to serving them at our other stores in the surrounding communities and on walmart.com."
Walmart still offers pickup and delivery from many of its supercenters and locations nationwide.
At one point, at least three of these models existed in the United States. In addition to the locations in Lincolnwood and Bentonville, a Walmart pickup and delivery only store opened in Metairie, Louisiana, in 2017 and closed last year. The Lincolnwood location opened in 2019.
The Bentonville location took up 15,000 square feet of space for produce, meats and frozen foods and other consumables, according to the Democrat-Gazette in 2014, and could serve 19 cars at a time. Meanwhile, the Lincolnwood location was much larger, occupying roughly 42,000 square feet, per the Chicago Tribune in 2019.
Walmart's decision to close these stores, where customers placed orders on walmart.com or the Walmart app, comes as the company has seen ecommerce growth slow greatly.
Walmart has been attempting to recapture the magic it had from the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when the world hunkered down and primarily turned to online shopping. In the second quarter of 2020, Walmart US ecommerce sales increased 97% compared with the year prior.
In comparison, the most recent quarter ending November 2022 saw a 16% year-over-year growth for Walmart US e-commerce sales.
Read the original article on Business Insider