Despite Amazon nipping at their heels, Walmart is and remains the largest retailer in the entire world.
With over 11,000 stores internationally located and 2.2 million people under their employ, Walmart is a massive business enterprise with operations far beyond mere retail.
Consider how much property Walmart uses – and not just brick-and-mortar stores, but the land on which they stand.
It makes you wonder: Does Walmart own their buildings? Here is what I discovered!
Does Walmart Own Their Buildings In 2022?
Walmart owns over 4,700 of its 5,500-plus locations in the United States and nearly 6,700 of its almost 12,000 locations around the world. Additionally, Walmart owns and operates a real estate branch of its company, Walmart Realty, which serves as its own in-house real estate firm and handles all of its properties’ acquisitions and maintenance.
To find out more about why Walmart operates this way, how much property they actually own, and even whether you could lease space inside a Walmart, keep reading!
Why Does Walmart Own Their Buildings?
Walmart has been around since the 1960s, but it wasn’t until 1995 that they began to develop the sense that the real estate part of the business required significant resources.
Just like homebuyers, who see the benefits of owning versus renting, Walmart saw that owning their own buildings gave them total control of their properties.
Could you imagine the rent on a 180,000 square foot building? Not paying rent for many of their Supercenters means that Walmart can continue to keep merchandise prices low.
Owning their buildings also means that Walmart can sell their buildings when they so choose.
Even a traditional Walmart Discount store averages over 100,000 square feet, so they make good homes for other businesses that need space.
Examples include car dealerships, factories or manufacturing plants, or even small colleges/centers of learning.
Does Walmart Own Property?
In addition to the actual store buildings themselves, Walmart also owns the land on which many of those buildings sit.
In fact, Walmart has developed the policy of acquiring more land than they require.
Ever wished you could buy the houses on either side of yours, so you could pick and choose your neighbors (or choose to have none at all)?
That’s Walmart’s thinking, and they have the cash to make it a reality.
This way, Walmart can keep their immediate surroundings squeaky clean – no unsavory businesses nearby like bars and pawn shops.
If it seems like the same restaurants (or types of restaurants) are always nearby to Walmart, that’s likely not an accident.
While I’m not privy to their decision-making, Walmart probably chooses to rent land to restaurants with similar brand values and images.
Does Walmart Lease Property?
Walmart does lease some properties as part of its real estate operations.
In addition to selling old Walmart spaces (that a community’s demand outgrew), Walmart can just go ahead and rent them out to other businesses.
This might be even more lucrative in the long run, and it continues to allow Walmart to retain some control over what happens to their old spaces.
They can also block out competitors from obtaining desirable locations or parcels of land.
Can You Lease Space Inside Walmart?
According to Millionacres.com, Walmart leases space inside of their stores to more than 10,000 tenants, a mix of small businesses and more established, recognizable brands.
These include hair and nail salons, eye doctors, and even fast-food restaurants and banks (stores in my area contain Subway restaurants and full-service salons).
If your Walmart contains any of these, chances are good they’re paying Walmart rent to occupy that space and profit off the guaranteed food traffic.
If you’re interested in learning how to lease in-store space from Walmart, you can access their Leasing web page.
Here they give you links to a store locator, the Landlord and Tenant Handbook and the New Tenant Business Summary Form.
The Handbook is 39 pages long and covers a whole range of topics, including Walmart’s fairly lofty expectations of their tenants.
How Many Acres Total Does Walmart Own?
In the United States in 2005, Walmart owned about 75,000 acres of land.
That’s about 117 square miles, or roughly the size of the city of Philadelphia.
Since then, Walmart has likely at least doubled that, though I cannot find exact numbers.
(Walmart has made headlines, after all, for snatching up acres in states like Alabama and Colorado.)
In terms of total acres Walmart occupies (owning or leasing), the behemoth retailer takes up over 1.1 billion feet of space around the world.
That’s larger than the entire island of Manhattan.
Is Walmart A Realty Or Real Estate Company?
Walmart developed an entire in-house real estate agency, called Walmart Realty.
Creating an entire division devoted to the acquisition, repurposing, selling and leasing of buildings and properties saves Walmart a lot of money.
That money would otherwise go toward a third-party real estate firm, who would no doubt charge premium rates for their services.
Instead, the Walmart Realty division employs its own army of attorneys, real estate agents, financial planners, accountants and more.
Every type of professional required to build or buy/sell buildings or develop land – Walmart has them on staff.
Since they developed this team in the 1990s, my guess would be that the division now operates like a well-oiled machine by this point.
And what a mountain of properties they have to manage!
Currently, Walmart Realty’s website boasts 557 available listings.
You can view these on their helpful map, and even search based on whether you want to see only land results or only building results.
The results give you the exact individual and the necessary contact information to make an inquiry into buying or leasing the Walmart-owned property.
To learn more about Walmart, you can also read our related posts on if Walmart is a franchise, 33 Walmart facts, and if Walmart is owned by China.
Since the 1990s, Walmart and their real estate division, Walmart Realty, has overseen the acquisition, sale and maintenance of many of the company’s store properties.
This real estate company-within-a-company ensures that Walmart can continue to profit off their land and building holdings, even if they are no longer operational Walmart stores.