Walmart Puerto Rico rolling out curbside pick-up in more stores
Walmart Puerto Rico — which is marking its 30th anniversary on the island — is investing some $57 million this year to revamp its stores, including adding more items and self-checkout points, as well as the deployment of curbside pick-up at more stores, the retailer’s Public and Government Affairs Director Iván Báez confirmed.
“Store shelves will have more items in exhibit, the optical and pharmacy areas are also being remodeled and the stores will be selling more high-end brands,” Báez said in an interview with News is my Business, mentioning Coach and Ray-Ban as some names already in stock.
“You can already find these brands in the three stores that have been remodeled. This year we started revamping the stores in Carolina, Fajardo and Cayey,” Báez said, adding that within the next two months all three stores should be completely revamped.
These same stores will also begin to offer the curbside pick-up option, which the retailer began testing late last year as part of a pilot program at its store in Cayey, as News is my Business exclusively reported.
“You place your order online and then pick it up at the store,” he said, of the model that is popular across hundreds of stateside Walmart locations.
The five-year goal is for all 18 Walmart Puerto Rico stores to offer this service, he said.
Next year, an additional $34 million will be invested, Báez added, to continue revamping stores and to offer the curbside pick-up service and expanded self-checkout service.
“In the case of Sam’s Club, we have also started revamping to make the visual experience for clients much more pleasant and also we are boosting and strengthening the use of the Sam’s Club application that is dubbed ‘scan and go,’ so from your cart you can scan your merchandise and when you are leaving you show the electronic receipt [to the employee] and you can leave,” Báez said, while noting that customers don’t need to wait in line to pay for their purchases.
Walmart marks 3 decades in Puerto Rico
Earlier this week, Walmart Puerto Rico announced it is celebrating its 30-year anniversary serving the island, where it has more than 11,000 employees.
“We are very grateful and honored for the support we have received from Puerto Rico in these past three decades, which has allowed us to develop our operations to meet its needs,” said María M. Soto, vice president of operations for Walmart Puerto Rico, who is the first woman and the first Puerto Rican to lead the company on the island.
“A support and commitment at all times, even in emergency situations, such as the ones we experienced after the hurricanes in 2017 and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
Soto further noted that the company is also very proud of the support it offers to local suppliers since its beginnings on the island, an effort that has been strengthened with the Open Call PR program, through which local entrepreneurs can present products to store buyers in one-on-one meetings to become a supplier or expand their business relationship with Walmart.
“Open Call PR has been so successful, that we increased to $60 million the goal of $20 million that was announced in 2018, since we surpassed that objective in the first three editions of the program,” Soto said.
She further highlighted that the company invested in a local Walmart Academy to offer training on the different essential skills “so that associates increase their productivity, confidence, knowledge, and generate greater satisfaction to achieve better professional and personal growth.”
Walmart opened its first store in Puerto Rico in the municipality of Fajardo in 1992 and in 2001, it launched the Walmart Supercenter concept in Cayey, an expanded format that houses a department store and a supermarket all under one roof.
In 2013, the company launched another concept on the island: the first two-story Walmart Supercenter in San Juan that features vertical construction that includes a multi-level parking facility above the store.