By Nandita Bose
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Package delivery company FedEx Corp <FDX.N> said on Tuesday it will open 500 FedEx Office stores inside Walmart Inc's <WMT.N> U.S. locations, a partnership intended to help both companies attract new customers and handle online order returns.
The new locations, to open over the next 24 months, are going to be in addition to the 47 stores inside Walmarts across six states that offer packing, shipping and printing services.
Brian Philips, chief executive of FedEx Office, told Reuters in an interview the company spent a lot of time looking at the types of customers visiting these facilities.
"What we found was that 88 percent of customers who come to our location are there to do business with us but over half of them are doing business with the retailer as well. They are buying something at Walmart while they are there," Philips said on the sidelines of Shoptalk, a retail conference in Las Vegas.
He also said the move is a significant part of FedEx's strategy to handle returns of items that were ordered online as the company has witnessed orders from retailers triple in volume.
FedEx is rethinking last-mile package delivery into crowded residential areas and expanding its network of convenience locations, Philips said.
The FedEx Office stores will be 450 to 700 square feet in size. FedEx Office operates approximately 1,900 company-owned stores and locations in the United States.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Las Vegas; Editing b y Steve Orlofsky)