Inside 'Walmart on Campus'

Company's smallest store offers a peek at what's to come in new formats

Published in CSP Daily News

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- At 3,000 square feet, the Walmart on Campus store at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville is likely the smallest building ever to carry the Walmart name. And with a product selection focused on snacks, drinks and fast food and an emphasis on price, it represents the challenge to convenience stores that retailers have long anticipated. A reporter with KUAF radio took an inside look at the store that opened earlier this year.

"The 3,000-square-foot convenience store carries things like ramen noodles, power bars, frozen pizza, and soda--all the stuff [image-nocss] students crave," said Jacqueline Froelich, a reporter for the NPR News station based at the University of Arkansas. "They can even fill their prescriptions here. And business here is fantastic."

Student Ian Plummer had picked out mac and cheese, frozen veggies and a blue beverage, noting shopping at the Walmart on Campus is easier than schlepping to the supercenter. "Definitely cheaper than a lot of places on campus; so nice to save a little bit as well," he said.

There are similarities to Wal-Mart's Supercenters, the reported noted. "Here you'll find those 'Every Day Low Prices.' And students who spot the blue and yellow starburst hanging above the doorway, tend to wander in, look around, then totally stock up."

"Walmart on Campus is a really cool format," David Tovar, vice president of communications for Wal-Mart U.S., told the reporter. "We try things close to home so we can track progress and make adjustments as needed. Frankly, it's doing better than anybody anticipated."

The company has tested small format stores in the international market place, and recently reported plans to introduce a Walmart Express format in Northwest Arkansas, Chicago and other markets.

"Our new Walmart Express stores will offer a great assortment at great prices in roughly 15,000 square feet," Tovar said. "The merchandise mix will include a strong emphasis on groceries, as well as a more limited selection of general merchandise. Specifically, the new format will feature an assortment of fresh food, dry grocery, consumables, health and beauty aids, over-the-counter medicines and limited general merchandise."

Along with rolling out its small store formats, Wal-mart will continue to build the iconic supercenters and tweak existing ones via remodels and inventory adjustments.

Click hereto read the complete report from NPR News.