Walmart had a banner 2020, with U.S. e-commerce sales up 79% as pandemic-weary customers consolidated shopping trips to fewer retailers and took advantage of the big-box giant’s strong curbside pickup offering. Its Sam’s Club and international businesses also boomed for similar reasons. With COVID-19 easing, the retailer is looking to protect those market share gains and has embarked on a $14 billion capital expenditure program for 2021, roughly 40% larger than last year’s, even as such spending compromises profits. The program will focus on priorities like an improved supply chain; automation, including in-store robots; grocery order fulfillment; and tech to improve shopping for customers.
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