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Walmart has begun unveiling plans for its new headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, on more than 300 acres that it says “will be integrated into the community, designed to be an inclusive and seamless part of the natural beauty of our Northwest Arkansas region. This is part of Walmart’s strategy to win and has been contemplated for a number of years. The new facilities will help accelerate change, accommodate a more digitally native workforce, and encourage more collaboration and speed.”

Walmart CEO CEO Doug McMillon says that the company currently operates out of "a patchwork of more than 20 buildings in Northwest Arkansas. Many of these facilities, including the current Home Office, are significantly beyond their shelf life. They are expensive and inefficient to maintain, costing millions of dollars of accelerating upkeep every year. And because they are so dispersed, they literally encourage us to work in silos and cause us to waste time and energy traveling between locations, many of which have inadequate parking options. For some time now, we’ve been concerned that this ad hoc office network actually inhibits our ability to compete in the rapidly changing retail landscape.”

According to a story from Business Journals News Network, “The new Walmart campus will be designed with four quadrants, with bike paths and walking trails linking to each quadrant. There will be more than 15 acres of lakes at the new facility, and Walmart said the new facility will ‘create zero waste [and] operate with 100 percent renewable energy’.”

No cost has been disclosed for the new HQ campus. The buildings there are expected to be opened “in phases between 2020 and 2024,” the story says.
KC's View:
It was interesting to read a story in Business Insider that sought to draw a distinction between how Walmart and Amazon dealt with recent HQ issues. Amazon, of course, conducted a highly publicized search for HQ2 locations. But in the other case:

“Rather than scan the country, Walmart stuck with its roots and remained in its birthplace of Arkansas. Its move was less about signaling growth, and more about corralling the company's increasingly sprawling corporate presence.

“Amazon's national challenge may have pushed the envelope, drawn intense attention, and cemented the company's status as a powerful disruptor in the worlds of both finance and politics. Walmart, on the other hand, made a comparatively quiet and uncontroversial move, highlighting how different these two companies are.”

All true. Different companies. Different circumstances. Different environments and cultures. But both recognize their changing and evolving businesses, and the need to build infrastructures ti support them.

One bit of advice, though.

I always admired the approach taken by Feargal Quinn at Superquinn in Ireland, who decreed that the company’s Dublin offices would never be referred to as “headquarters,” but rather as a “support office,” because this would reinforce where the business was being done and what the priorities should be. (Company employees who called it “headquarters” had to pay a modest fine.)

That’s smart, because it puts the stores - and customers - first.