Wal-Mart isn't the only retailer that has expansion plans

A Walmart worker organizes products for Christmas season at a Walmart store in Teterboro, New Jersey.
Eduardo Munoz | Reuters
A Walmart worker organizes products for Christmas season at a Walmart store in Teterboro, New Jersey.

Wal-Mart made headlines this week by releasing more information about an expansion plan it had introduced in October, but it's not the only company likely adding locations and workers this year.

While the company did not mention President-elect Donald Trump in the statement, commentators were quick to link the announcement to Trump's emphasis on American jobs. Wal-Mart said its previously planned $6.8 billion in capital investments and expansion at 59 locations would create 10,000 new jobs.

But that's relatively tepid growth for the company, which analysts estimate added about 100 domestic stores in the past 12 months. And that $6.8 billion is actually a slight reduction in U.S. capital spending, according to filings. Here's how some other growing retailers compare:

Dollar General

Wal-Mart may have 20 times as many employees, but Dollar General has more stores and all of them are in the United States. The company has also been clear that it intends to continue an expansion spree that included about 900 new stores and 900 remodeled or relocated stores in 2016. According to executives, returns on those new locations have been strong, and even more are planned for 2017.

"In 2017, we plan to accelerate our square footage to about 7.5 percent," CEO Todd Vasos said on the company's December earnings call. "Our 2017 pipeline is essentially complete as we continue to plan for about 1,000 new store openings."

Analysts expect the company's capital expenditures in 2017 to increase by about 7 percent to more than $600 million. Even if each new store requires only a handful of employees, the investments being made by Dollar General could create thousands of new jobs. A company representative did not return a request for comment on the plan.

Tractor Supply Company

Tractor Supply had only about 1,000 stores in 2010, but has been expanding at a rate of nearly 100 a year since then. The company was on track to add 113 stores last year as of its last quarterly earnings report, and will likely add a similar number this year. On the company's October earnings call, CFO Tony Crudele said the company would be careful in the softer sales environment, but is still moving toward a goal of 100 to 120 new stores in 2017.

"We're currently assessing the store target for next year," said Crudele. "I would tell you that we have the majority of stores already in place and signed."

In 2015, the company opened 114 stores and added 1,600 employees (all in the U.S.). That may seem small, but the company's workforce grew by about 9 percent that year, compared with Wal-Mart's expected labor growth of less than 1 percent. Analysts expect capital expenditure to grow by five percent next year, according to FactSet data. A company spokesperson declined to comment.


As of December, AutoZone ran more than 5,300 stores in the United States. The company plans to open approximately 150 domestic stores in its 2017 fiscal year, according to the company's most recent conference call. That's similar to overall store expansion in 2016, according to filings.

At least five of those new stores are expected to be "mega hubs," much larger stores with expansive inventories and many more employees. And the company is also expanding its supply network with two new distribution centers (in Pasco, Washington and Ocala, Florida, according to local reports), which will also create hundreds of jobs.

Analysts expect the company's capital expenditures to increase by about 18 percent to nearly $600 million in 2017. At 15 employees per store for regular stores and many more for distribution centers and hubs, the plans will likely add thousands of jobs. The company declined to comment.

"We expect to ultimately operate 25 to 40 mega hubs once the implementation is complete," said CEO Bill Rhodes on the December earnings call. "The constraint on the speed with which we can open these is availability and location of real estate."