Walmart Recruiting 'SWAT' Teams to Execute 500 Store Remodels a Year

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Editor in Chief
Jamie goodman
Walmart said it plans to hire over 400 more remodel associates in 15 markets early next year, to finish around 100 remodels and to participate in hundreds more special projects in 2020.

Walmart is undergoing around 500 full store remodels a year, along with thousands of special projects in additional stores. While Walmart, like many retailers, knows keeping stores current is important to the customer experience, the retail giant said the amount of work that goes into these remodels is “staggering.”

Enter Walmart SWAT teams.

The retailer has created teams of around 30 full-time associates focused on remodeling stores, based in urban markets with high concentrations of stores. This past year Walmart has hired more than 1,000 associates to these new remodel teams, it said.

Before the teams, a store would need to hire up to 60 temporary associates within a couple of weeks just to complete a 12-week remodel, said John Clarke, Walmart vice president of real estate.

“It can be difficult, if not impossible, to ask a store management team to come up with that many people,” he said.

Walmart’s career page touts the remodel associate position as “an important part of the new state-of-the-art Walmart.” The position requires hard-working people that are comfortable working in a fast-paced and physically demanding job. While our store undergoes a remodel, we need associates to help customers find what they need and guide them to the items on their shopping lists that may not be in the usual places.

Duties include removing and installing fixtures, greeting customers “with a smile” and answering their questions, stocking products on shelves, sorting products in the backroom, and unloading trucks.

Walmart said it plans to hire over 400 more remodel associates in 15 markets early next year, to finish around 100 remodels and to participate in hundreds more special projects in 2020.

Angelic Campbell was one of the first remodel team members to be hired in late 2018, according to Walmart. In the three years Angelic worked in an Atlanta supercenter, she had held every job at the front end – from cashier to customer service – before being promoted to department manager. The remodel associate position has a starting rate of $16 per hour, a “couple dollars more an hour than the average department manager starting wage.”

According to Matt Smith of Walmart Corporate Affairs, “by the time team members have completed three remodels, they are well-versed in building and stocking product in a Walmart store. The experience gained on remodel projects sets associates up for success in Walmart’s real estate division, but there’s also a clear path to return to store operations.

The new teams “allow us to have knowledgeable, caring associate talent working on our remodels. Both customers and associates benefit from that,” he concluded.

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