According to The Associated Press, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is planning an aggressive push into urban markets with a new small format that’s a fraction of the size of its supercenters.

The expansion, expected to be spelled out next month at the retailer’s meeting with analysts at its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., is aimed to pump up sluggish U.S. sales.

Real estate executives said that over this past summer, the world’s largest retailer has been scouring for small locations, around 20,000 square feet, in urban areas including New York City, San Francisco and other cities. That size is larger than a typical drugstore but smaller than a supermarket.

Since 2008, Wal-Mart has been testing smaller stores called Marketside. They now total four and average 15,000 square feet. The format focuses on fresh food. And the discounter now has almost 200 Neighborhood Market by Walmart stores, which offer a mix of fresh food, pharmacy, beauty, stationary and pet supplies and are about 42,000 square feet.

Photo by freshneasybuzz.

Originally posted by Rich Whittle on September 22, 2010 in Ideas.

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