Atwater

Walmart will spend $145M to upgrade locations. This Merced County store is included

Atwater’s Walmart Supercenter is included in the cluster of 21 stores opening or getting a makeover in California in the corporation’s $145 million plan for this year, according to officials.

Grocery pickup, delivery and some automation are part of the new additions planned at the 800 Commerce Ave. location in Atwater, the company said. Similar investments are taking place nationally.

The new offerings are part of the company’s plan to spend $11 billion in California through 2020, officials said in a news release.

“The upcoming store remodels and innovations are exciting for both shoppers and associates alike and are centered on helping our customers save time and money,” Todd Siron, a regional vice president and general manager for Walmart in California, said in the release.

The nearest other locations getting upgrades include Modesto, Tracy and Gilroy.

Grocery pickup allows customers to make an order before getting to the store, and Walmart employees will bring the order to the shopper’s car. Customers can also use a smartphone to say “Hey Google, talk to Walmart” and the Google Assistant application will add items directly to an online grocery cart.

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Atwater’s Walmart Supercenter -- seen here on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 -- is included in the cluster of 21 stores opening or getting a makeover in the corporation’s $145 million plan for this year, according to officials. Thaddeus Miller tmiller@mercedsunstar.com

Then there’s the “Walmart Pickup Towers,” 16-foot-tall high-tech vending machines capable of fulfilling a customer’s online order in less than a minute. Shoppers make the order online or by smartphone before reaching the vending machine.

Robot floor scrubbers will use autonomous technology to perform the task of cleaning and scrubbing the concrete floors in stores like Atwater’s, the company said.

An addition expected to help employees is what Walmart is calling a “FAST Unloader.” Historically, when products are delivered to the store, they are sorted by a team of employees. The new system would sort products by scanning them and cutting down how much employees need to handle them, the release said.

The new spending in California comes after six district attorney’s offices in the state reached a settlement with Walmart Inc. in a civil enforcement action.

Earlier this month, offices in Fresno, Placer, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Tulare and Yolo counties announced Walmart misled customers by packaging some of its health and beauty products in oversized containers, and the company was ordered to pay $495,000 in costs and penalties.

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