Walmart Inc. has three retail divisions: Walmart Supercenters, Walmart discount stores, and Walmart neighborhood markets. The Walmart discount stores are simply referred to as Walmart. Founded by Sam and James Walton in 1962, Walmart Inc. is the world’s largest company when measured in terms of revenue. As the Supercenters are becoming increasingly popular, the discount stores have steadily dropped in number, and only 365 stores were present in October 2022. Most discount stores have been closed or converted into Supercenters.
Walmart (brand name) refers to the discount department stores that sell general merchandise and limited groceries. These stores were what the Walton family originally envisioned; however, their Supercenters emerged as a more popular alternative. Walmart introduced Bud’s Discount City in 1990. Later on, in 1997, all these were converted into Walmart discount stores. The average discount store covers around 9,800 square meters. The smallest Walmart’s size is 2,800 square meters, while the largest is about 20,500 square meters in size.
Walmart Supercenters are so popular that a Supercenter in Calgary, Alberta, was used for shooting a scene in the film Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Remember how the marshmallows came to life? Somehow cute and creepy at the same time). Supercenters provide everything a customer may look for at low prices (without compromising quality). A Walmart Greeter – an employee who waits at the front door to greet all the customers who enter is one of the hallmarks of Supercenters. Of course, the greeter crosschecks customer receipts but has a sunny disposition that banishes any discomfort the customer may feel. However, the greeters were replaced with ‘customer hosts’ in 2019.
Walmart vs. Walmart Supercenter
The most significant difference between Walmart and a Walmart Supercenter is that the former offers only general merchandise, whereas the latter has groceries, meat and dairy products, and frozen food along with the general merchandise. Moreover, a Walmart Supercenter is larger than Walmart discount stores, as it offers a wider variety of products.
Difference Between Walmart And Walmart Supercenter In Tabular Form
|Parameters Of Comparison||Walmart||Walmart Supercenter|
|Products||Food, clothing/apparel, and household goods (home furnishings, toys, lawn items, garden items, and so on).||Groceries (including garden produce), meat and dairy products, delicatessen, frozen foods, and baked goods.|
|Variety||Offers a lesser variety of products compared to a Supercenter. However, it makes a||Walmart Supercenter offers a wider variety of products and has other facilities like pet shops, pharmacies, photo-processing labs, and numerous other shops.|
|Place of operation||Walmart operates in 24 countries.||3,572 Walmart Supercenters are present in 49 out of the 50 US states (Hawaii does not have a Supercenter), the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.|
|Origin year||Walmart was founded in 1962 and incorporated on 31st October 1969.||Walmart Supercenter emerged in 1988 in Washington, Missouri.|
What Is Walmart?
Walmart is a publicly traded family-owned discount store that has a significant impact on customer welfare. Though all kinds of customers walk through its doors, a population’s poorest segment benefits the most from its discounted goods. According to George Will (in 2006), Walmart helps its customers save more than 200 billion dollars a year (wait, what? That’s awesome!). Even Government programs like the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food stamps) and Earned Income Tax Credits do not help people save that much.
The food stamp program helped Americans save (a comparatively meager) $28.6 billion, and EITC helped them save 34.6 billion dollars. However, retailers suffer if a Walmart opens in their neighborhood. According to Farm Foundation (a paper published in 1997), small-town retailers lose more than half of their business within ten years if a Walmart store opens there.
Walmart claimed (in 2020) that two-thirds of its merchandise was made, assembled, or grown in the US. It is believed to have directly or indirectly led to productivity acceleration. Walmart continues to be the biggest competition in the retail business because of its transformative use of technology and its continued search for ways to improve efficiency. After all, when competitors adopt the innovative measures of a brand, it clearly signals that the said brand is the best (in this case – Walmart).
Sam Walton once performed a Hula dance on Wall Street because he promised to do so if the company managed to achieve the set profit target. It is no secret that Walmart stores have a stellar global status. Unfortunately, they were not successful in Germany. The failure cost the brand around a billion dollars (hey, even giants have their bad days). Walmart stores use robots for tasks like washing floors, scanning shelf inventory to identify mistakes, checking rack stock, and so on.
Walmart’s online business is thriving, and people who shop in-store and online spend the most money in Walmart. Therefore, the stores allow the customers to choose in-store pickup for the orders placed online. If something on the racks catches their eyes when they come to pick up their order, well, that’s more business for the store.
Walmart faced many criticisms like most famous brands do; remaining at the top is not always an easy battle. The aggressive measures taken to cut costs in 2000 (like removing the greeters, replacing cashiers with self-checkout stations, and so on) led to an increase in crime rates in the following decade. Thefts and other crimes increased in Walmart. Moreover, out of the 9000 calls made to the police, only a few hundred resulted in arrests. In 2016 alone, multiple crimes (over 200) ranging from petty theft to stabbing and shooting occurred in Walmart stores.
The occurrence of all these crimes does not mean Walmart’s CEO stood chewing his nails. In 2015, Doug Milligan took several measures to reduce crimes at Walmart. Placement of security cameras at high-theft areas, the stationing of employees at self-checkout points, letting go of first-time offenders if they agree to enter theft-prevention programs, and so on are some of the measures that helped reduce crime rates. However, the CEO’s actions came a bit too late. Walmart was highly criticized for indirectly shifting the security burden to taxpayers by calling law enforcement more times than similar retail businesses do.
Despite Walmart’s continued efforts to prevent crime, on June 27, 2020, a shooter killed an employee and wounded four others before being shot down by law enforcement officers. Walmart was also criticized for gender discrimination, as only 33% of employees at the management level were women. However, Walmart countered that it classified its employees differently, and if department managers were considered, women constitute about 60% of its managerial ranks.
What Is Walmart Supercenter?
The first Supercenter was opened in 1998 and has been popular ever since. Walmart Supercenters are hypermarkets; however, they go above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction. People can buy anything they need under one roof. The bonus? The products are available at Walmart’s signature low prices. Sometimes, people get drawn in by the general merchandise when they go grocery shopping and start wandering down the different aisles. They are not perturbed even if they remember they had not made lunch. After all, they just have to stroll into the Subway or McDonalds present in the Supercenter (convenient, right?).
Walmart Supercenters have full-service supermarkets and general merchandise, including deli food or delicatessen, meat and dairy products, fresh seafood, and restaurants like McDonald's, Subway, and in some locations, even Burger King (anyone who read the Sabrina series would know how mouth-wateringly good Burger King’s burgers are!). Moreover, pet shops, pharmacies, hair and nail salons, photo-processing labs, and local bank branches are available in these hypermarkets.
Some Supercenters have garden and optical centers, Tire & Lube Express, cellular phone stores, video rental stores, etc. These stores, too, are simply referred to as Walmart like Walmart discount stores; however, it is still branded as ‘Supercentre’ in Canadian stores. There are 391 Supercenters in Texas, 232 in Florida, 154 in Georgia, 144 in California, and so on. The number of these stores in other US states (except Hawaii) ranges from 5 – 138.
Generally, Walmart Neighborhood Markets are located within Supercenters; they fill the gaps in the market that Discount stores and Supercenters could not. Though Supercenters are often viewed as ‘the destroyer of small businesses’, no actual proof exists to support this point. In fact, the Walmart supercenters have only a negligible amount of adverse effect on small retail businesses like Moms and Pops. Some believe the distance between a Supercenter and a small-town retail shop determines whether Walmart’s impact is significant.
Others argue that other retail businesses have stepped up and reduced the prices of their goods; such a strategy ensures that discounted price is not a POD (point of difference – also the strength of a company/brand) of Walmart. Therefore, small-time retailers have not been stamped out and are finding new ways to compete with Walmart, the Giant.
The emergence of Supercenters created more retail job opportunities; however, like all other retail shops, the employees are paid less and can avail of only minimum benefits. Therefore, they tend to rely on public assistance programs, which ultimately results in taxpayers bearing the burden of employee welfare rather than the company (does that mean the discounted prices do not improve customer welfare? One may never know the answer).
Walmart has faced many lawsuits regarding low wages, inadequate healthcare, and so on. Apparently, 70% of the workforce desert their jobs within a year of joining (the exact reason for such employee behavior is not known). It is unclear whether Walmart deliberately chooses a poverty-ridden community to establish its business to help elevate its living standard or worsen it. The reason people have divided opinions as to the benefits and destructive abilities of Walmart is that no study has analyzed the issue in detail.
Main Difference Between Walmart And Walmart Supercenter In Points
- Customers can find everything they want within a Walmart Supercenter, whereas Walmart (discount stores) cannot promise such a thing and strive to provide complete customer satisfaction.
- Walmart focuses more on non-grocery goods and general merchandise, while the Supercenters offer groceries, general merchandise, and several other facilities like hair salons, video rental stores, and fast food outlets.
- Walmart Supercenters have McDonalds, Subway, and local bank branches (some even have fuel stations), whereas these are not present in Walmart.
- Walmart stores are typically open from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Walmart Supercenters are open 24 hours, keeping customer convenience in mind.
- Even at the peak of Walmart discount stores’ popularity (in 1996), there were only 1,995 stores; however, there were 3,572 Walmart Supercenters (as of Oct 2022). At present, only 395 Walmart (discount) stores are present. This drastic change in numbers is due to the increasing convenience a Supercenter provides to shoppers.
- Supercenters are located in well-populated areas to cater to the varying needs of the people, whereas discount stores are situated in comparatively less populated areas.
- The outdoor section of Discount stores is not matched by Supercenters, whereas the former cannot hope to match the food section of the latter.
- Walmart Supercenters are a better option if people plan on purchasing products across varying categories and would like to consider several models/brands. Walmart stores are a better option if people want to quickly grab what they want and leave.
Walmart is a retail giant (maybe even the best) – no one can deny that. However, other retail businesses have begun to provide stiff competition, and Amazon is locking horns with Walmart in online shopping. Amazon beat Walmart in the food category by offering food products at a 23% lower rate than Walmart, but Walmart offers products in all other categories at a 34% lower rate than Amazon. Therefore, it looks like there is no stopping the rise and success of Walmart’s physical (Discount stores, Supercenters, and Neighborhood Walmart) as well as online stores.
- Walmart - Wikipedia. (1962, July 2). Walmart - Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walmart
- Belanger, L. (2018, February 22). 15 Crazy Facts About Walmart’s History and Where It’s Headed Next | Entrepreneur. Entrepreneur. https://www.entrepreneur.com/growing-a-business/15-crazy-facts-about-walmarts-history-and-where-its/309403
- Walmart Supercenters have more than doubled the presence of the original Discount store model around the US. We compared the two and found that the supercenter has a surprisingly large grocery. (2019, June 15). Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.in/walmart-supercenters-have-more-than-doubled-the-presence-of-the-original-discount-store-model-around-the-us-we-compared-the-two-and-found-that-the-supercenter-has-a-surprisingly-large-grocery-/articleshow/69806783.cms
- We compared Walmart’s Supercenters to its Discount stores, and the former is light years better when it comes to food options. (n.d.). Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/photos-store-tour-shopping-review-walmart-discount-store-supercenter-2019-5
- Walmart vs. Target Business Model: What’s the Difference? (2019, September 3). Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/active-trading/070715/target-vs-walmart-whos-winning-big-box-war.asp