March 17, 2005

Wal-Mart to pump its own gas

Bentonville, Arkansas – Wal-Mart Stories Inc. is building its own gas stations and will sell fuel branded with its name, reports the Dallas Morning News.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has operated gas pumps in more than 800 store parking lots under lease agreements since the 1990s. But it is now opening stations under the Wal-Mart brand at its stores, including four in Virginia and one in Missouri.

“We’re going to grow our business as it makes sense,” said spokesperson Sharon Weber. “And in locations where other companies aren’t interested in locating gasoline pumps for us, we’ll do it ourselves.”

Reports say that Wal-Mart has plans to open up to 300 more stations within a year and exceed 500 by the end of the decade. As of January 31, 2005, the company had gas stations at approximately 1,200 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores throughout the United States, with 75 per cent owned by third parties. Its pumps have a 3 per cent share of all U.S. retail gasoline sales. Earlier this year, market research firm Retail Forward even predicted that Wal-Mart could be interested in buying an oil refinery.

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