NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is opening two new distribution centers dedicated to filling online orders as the world's largest retailer aims to compete with online juggernaut Amazon.com.
The discounter said Tuesday that one center, which is in Fort Worth, Texas, and employs 275 full-time associates, began shipping orders last week. The other, in Bethlehem, Pa., will ultimately employ more than 350 full-time workers. It's set to open during the company's fiscal first quarter of next year.
Combined, the new operations will house hundreds of thousands of items ranging from toys and electronics to clothing.
The discounter is seeing surging e-commerce business and is more than doubling the number of items it carries on its website to 5 million heading into the crucial holiday shopping season.
Wal-Mart has increased its projection for online sales this year, to $10 billion from $9 billion. Globally, online sales increased 30 percent in the second quarter. However, Wal-Mart's online sales remain only a sliver of its total revenue of $466.1 billion, excluding membership fees. According to trade publication Internet Retailer, Wal-Mart's online sales reached $7.7 billion in its latest fiscal year.
In comparison, Amazon.com generated $61 billion in revenue last year, and the online retailer has been adding distribution centers and getting into same-day delivery. Underscoring its confidence in the upcoming holiday season, Amazon on Tuesday announced a 40 percent increase in seasonal hiring at its network of U.S. distribution centers. The online retailer said it will be creating 70,000 full-time seasonal jobs.