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Walmart Expands Perishable Network with New DCs and Facility Expansions

Pallet being inducted into automation. Image courtesy Walmart.

Walmart will increase support for its grocery operations with enhancements to its perishable network, including five new high-tech perishable distribution centers (DCs), expansions to four traditional perishable DCs and a retrofit of the retailer’s Winter Haven, Fla. DC with the latest technology.

One of the new DCs, in Shafter, Calif., has been operational since 2021, and the second, in Lancaster, Texas, is ramping up operations. The other three new DCs will be located in Wellford, S.C.; Belvidere, Ill.; and Pilesgrove, N.J.

The new DCs can store twice the volume of cases and process more than twice the volume of a traditional DC by using state-of-the-art technology, according to Walmart. Here’s how it works:

  • As cases come in from farmers and suppliers, they’re inspected for quality and de-palletized;
  • The cases are then stored in an automated storage system that stretches nearly 80 feet tall and operates in a temperature-controlled environment;
  • When it’s time to build a store order, the system retrieves the cases from storage to begin building store-ready pallets, which are built by department, making them easier to unload at the store; and
  • These intelligently layered pallets – with more fragile items like eggs or fruit toward the top – are then wrapped and loaded onto a truck for shipping.

Walmart already has opened four of five planned next-generation fulfillment centers, designed to expand access to next-day and two-day shipping for Walmart customers as well as to support clients of Walmart Fulfillment Services.

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