A Walmart sign displayed on the facade of a store in Hialeah Gardens, Florida June 1, 2017. Walmart is adding four new fulfillment centers to its existing capacity, a move that will bring more than 4,000 jobs and make the next or two one-day shipping available to more Americans.

AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File

Walmart is adding four new fulfillment centers to its existing capacity, a move that will create more than 4,000 jobs and make overnight or next-day shipping available to more Americans.

The announcement comes at a time when consumers are relying more than ever on packages being shipped to their homes. While online orders have continued to rise over the years, the pandemic has seen a huge surge in such orders as Americans stayed home during shutdowns and got essentials and other goods delivered. at their doorstep. While coronavirus restrictions have eased, the online ordering habits of many consumers remain.

Along with a growth in online orders, Walmart and other retailers are trying to ensure their shipping speeds keep pace with rival Amazon, which offers same-day, one-day and two-day delivery options for those who pay for his Prime subscription. .

Walmart said Friday that its four next-generation fulfillment centers will be built over the next three years. The centers, equipped with robotics and machine learning, double the capacity and the number of orders that can be filled in a day. The four fulfillment centers will be able to provide 75% of the US population with one- or two-day shipping on millions of items, including Marketplace items shipped through Walmart fulfillment services.

When combined with its traditional fulfillment centers, Walmart said it can reach 95% of the U.S. population with overnight or next day shipping. The company can offer same-day delivery to 80% of the US population using available inventory and capacity in its stores.

The first next-generation distribution center will open this summer in Joliet, Illinois, 72.4 kilometers southeast of Chicago. Another will open next spring in McCordsville, Indiana, 20 miles northeast of Indianapolis. A third is slated to open in 2024 in Greencastle, Pennsylvania.

Walmart currently has 31 e-commerce fulfillment centers, 4,700 stores and 210 fulfillment centers.

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