Seeing gas stations outside of certain Walmart stores isn’t an unusual thing. However, seeing those gas stations branded with Walmart decals, logos and other designs might be a shock to certain shoppers going forward.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Walmart executives made the decision to move on from long-time partner and petroleum provider Murphy USA and begin administering its gas stations on its own. Murphy USA will retain control of over 1,000 fill-up locations, but any new gas stations constructed from here on out will be exclusively run by — and their sales reaped by — Walmart.
WSJ speculated that the decision can be interpreted through the lens of pressure from the eCommerce scene and Amazon in particular. As Walmart pours more and more resources into revamping its own online operations to compete with rivals well into the future, it needs to find ways to squeeze more water out of the revenue stone in the here and now. While taking over stewardship of its gas stations isn’t going to make Walmart billions, it could give the retailer a little more financial wiggle room when combined with other meaningful but drop-in-the-bucket type interventions.
Walmart did not release information on where its new branded gas stations might be located, but those decisions may have to be put on the back burner for the time being. The retailer recently announced the expected closures of over 150 stores in the U.S. over the coming months, and while Walmart did pledge to open another 300 in areas it expects to see more efficient sales, nailing down where its new stores are going is arguably the first step before deciding which deserve flashy new gas stations.
According to Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove, though, the plan at the moment is “to put fuel stations in as many locations as we can,” USA Today reported. Here’s hoping Walmart doesn’t run out of gas before it gets there.