Retail News Breaks
Walmart tests convenience store format
March 21st, 2014
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Continuing to drive its small-format strategy, Walmart is piloting a convenience store concept, called Walmart to Go, in its hometown.
Located less than a mile from the retail giant's corporate headquarters, the Walmart To Go store measures about 5,000 square feet and carries approximately 3,500 SKUs, with six gas pumps outside.
The outlet is designed to cater to customers seeking a quick meal. To that end, Walmart has partnered with a local business called Bentonville Butcher & Deli, which operates a quick-serve deli counter offering sandwiches and barbecue in the back of the new Walmart to Go store.
In addition, the store features a Krispy Kreme doughnut stand as well as a beverage station that offers soft drinks, milk shakes, coffee and cappuccino.
Other food and beverage options can be found in the coolers that line one side of the store, carrying refrigerated to-go food options, fresh fruit, yogurt, wine and beer. Five aisles in the middle of the store carry packaged food and convenience-oriented general merchandise, including pet food and diapers.
Customers can also pick up greeting cards, flowers and typical convenience store fare (including tobacco) at the store, which is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Walmart To Go represents yet another competitive challenge to drug chains, supermarkets and convenience stores from the world's largest retailer. Last month, Walmart announced that it's doubling the number of small-format stores that it aims to open in its current fiscal year.
Plans call for Walmart to add 270 to 300 small stores, including the Walmart Neighborhood Market and Walmart Express formats, during its 2015 fiscal year, up from its October projection of 120 to 150 small stores.
Currently, Walmart has 346 Neighborhood Market and 20 Walmart Express stores. The Neighborhood Market stores, all of which have pharmacies, average nearly 40,000 square feet and offer fresh produce, meat and dairy products, bakery and deli items, household supplies, and health and beauty aids. The Express stores, not all of which currently have pharmacies, run around 15,000 square feet and carry groceries and general merchandise.
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