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Walmart Is Opening 4 New High-Tech Fulfillment Centers With Robots and Machine Learning

Walmart is introducing some new fulfillment centers with a high-tech twist.

The big-box retailer announced on Friday that it will build four new “next generation” fulfillments centers over the next three years, each of which will feature high-tech adjustments including robotics and machine learning. The first of these centers is set to open this summer in Joliet, Illinois.

The goal is for these centers “to set an entirely new precedent for us on the speed of fulfillment while continuing to create a positive work environment for our associates,” wrote Walmart’s U.S. SVP of innovation and automation

Walmart has partnered with intelligent fulfillment solutions company Knapp to outfit the centers with an automated storage system that streamlines the usually 12-step fulfillment process into just five steps. According to Walmart, these centers will have the capacity to deliver next-day or two-day shipping on millions of items to 75% of the U.S. population and will employ more than 4,000 associates, many in new tech-focused jobs such as control technicians, quality audit analysts and flow managers.

Walmart said it will strategically open these four centers in locations that complement its 4,700 stores and 210 distribution centers.

“Together, this system of fulfillment assets is optimized to get orders to customers fast and efficiently,” In this way we show our customers they need to look no further than Walmart to get what they need, when they need it.”

In its most recent quarter, Walmart beat sales expectations with reported revenues of $141.57 billion in Q1 compared to the $138.94 billion expected from analysts. However, the company missed earnings expectations for Q1, reporting adjusted earnings per share of $1.30 compared to an expected $1.48.

The earnings miss, according to executives, was a result of increased wage expenses and fuel costs in the supply chain, as well as a decrease in general merchandise sales due to inflation.

In March, Walmart said it planned to hire more than 50,000 workers to staff its U.S. stores, offices and supply chain facilities in Q1.

Despite the rough quarter, executives said they are confident the company can get back on track through the remainder of the year. As such, Walmart raised its sales outlook this year and expects net sales to increase about 4% for the full year in constant currency.

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