American retailers remodel thousands of stores each year, but the process is rarely smooth. Now imagine the headaches for Walmart Inc., which overhauls 500 locations annually on its own.
In the past year, the retailer has quietly rolled out “SWAT teams” -- small groups of remodeling specialists who go from store to store in big markets such as Atlanta and Dallas, near where Barnes’s outlet is located. Working at night, they tackle jobs such as building fixtures to display apparel and moving counters so new floors can be installed. (General contractors do the more specialized jobs like electrical work.) There are 1,000 SWAT team members now, and the squad will rise to 1,700 by the end of next year as it expands to 13 new markets.. . . more