Wal-Mart Is Taking Back Control of Its Gas Stations

Gas grills are displayed for sale outside a Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. retail location in Shelbyville, Kentucky, U.S. on Monday, May 18, 2015. Wal-Mart is expected to release quarterly earnings on Tuesday, May 19. Photographer : Luke Sharrett / Bloomberg
Photograph by Luke Sharrett — Bloomberg Finance LP

After two decades of contracting out its parking lot gas stations, Wal-Mart is now going to be operating the fueling stations themselves.

Going forward, the Arkansas-based retailing giant will be building and operating its own gas stations, reports the Wall Street Journal. Murphy USA, Wal-Mart’s former partner in the business, will continue to operate the approximately 1,000 gas station already built around Wal-Mart (WMT) stores.

While tumbling gas prices have hurt oil companies, the Journal notes that gas station operators haven’t felt the same squeeze. If anything, lower gas prices make it more likely that drivers will pop into the station for candy and sodas, which have much higher profit margins than gasoline.

This decision is seen as a move from Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon to find as many sources of profit as possible. Wal-Mart is losing retail share to Amazon (AMZN) and other online retailers, and operating its own gas stations could help to replace some of that lost revenue.

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