Walmart bringing robot janitors to over 1,800 stores

Mike Montone
April 09, 2019 - 9:33 am

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BENTONVILLE, AR (1010 WINS) -- Walmart is bringing in robot janitors.

The retailer announced Tuesday, that autonomous floor scrubbers are coming to 1,860 stores, robots will scan inventory in 350 stores, and bots in 1,700 stores will scan and sort boxes as they come off of delivery trucks.

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Walmart says the 'smart assistants' will free-up workers to focus on customer service.

"The overall trend we're seeing is that automating certain tasks gives associates more time to do work they find fulfilling and to interact with our customers," CEO Doug McMillon said.

McMillon indicated that robots will play a key role in the store's future.

Experts say robots will help Walmart manage rising costs.

"There is a labor shortage in retail," said Kirthi Kalyanam, director of the Retail Management Institute at Santa Clara University. "It will not be easy for Walmart to add labor to perform these functions. So a high level of automation is required."

The robots will lead to some employee attrition over time, CNN Business reports.

"As we evolve, there are certain activities, certain jobs that'll go away," Walmart US CFO Michael Dastugue said.

Walmart isn't the store turning to robots. Giant Food Stores is assigning 'Marty' a googly eyed, gray robot to hunt for spills in all 172 of its stores.

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