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Walmart to Focus New Store Openings on Florida, Texas

While slowing down and building new facilities, the retailer is making a few exceptions

Walmart expects to build no more than 25 new U.S. stores this fiscal year as its $11 billion capital budget tilts even more heavily toward renovations and e-commerce.

In a series of local announcements detailing plans for spending, Walmart expressed its intention to expand its reach in Florida and Texas, with nearly $500 million in investments and 10 of its planned new stores headed to those states.

The retailer plans to spend an estimated $200 million on the opening and remodeling of approximately 42 stores in Florida, accounting for six out the 25 new U.S. stores expected to open in the fiscal year ending Jan. 31. Walmart will also introduce several in-store and online innovations that will aim to help save customers time and money.

Online innovation expansions in the state will include the retailer's online grocery pickup, Mobile Express Scan & Go, and Walmart Pickup Tower programs.

Elise Vasquez-Warner, VP and regional general manager for Walmart in Florida, said customers in the state have voiced a desire to be able to shop "how, when and where they want," and Walmart will achieve that by "building off the momentum we had last year, accelerating the rollout of customer-centered innovations, creating more than 1,000 jobs this year alone and maintaining a sharp focus on improving our store experience.”

Walmart said its new stores in Florida include Neighborhood Market stores in Apopka, Jacksonville, Miami, Naranja and Pompano, as well as a Supercenter in Jacksonville.

Walmart will open four new stores in Texas and allocate $277 million, its largest state budget, to these projects, along with 45 store remodels.

In other announcements, Walmart said it would build new stores in California, Virginia and New Jersey, while executing hundreds of remodels nationwide. The retailer appears to be budgeting an average of $3.4 million per store renovation.

Walmart through fiscal 2016 was building hundreds of new stores a year, but has curtailed those plans in favor of renovations and e-commerce additions in its existing base.

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