Wal-Mart Testing First Real Convenience Store

Published in CSP Daily News

Retail giant set to open yet another small-format concept, including gas

By  Greg Lindenberg, Online Editor

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is building a genuine convenience store in its headquarters town of Bentonville, Ark., the first of such a format for the retail giant, a company spokesperson told The Northwest Arkansas Business Journal.

Walmart spokesperson Deisha Barnett told the newspaper that the company paid $4.5 million in September for the 2.01-acre site.

The store, which will open sometime in spring 2014, "will offer customers a quick and easy solution for gas, snacks and beverages and other staples like milk, bread and eggs," Barnett told CSP Daily News. "We know this type of convenience store is popular with customers. We're excited about the opportunity to test a new store and learn."

She added, however, that the company has "no current plans to build additional stores like this."

Although she would not provide any additional details, this store clearly will not be a Walmart Express, the company's current small-format, convenience-type outlet and Site-to-Store online ordering center that it is testing in a few markets around the country.

The company has typically announced the openings of the Walmart Express outlets, which are 10,000-to-12,000-square-foot stores, although the company has tested them as high as 15,000 square feet. It has opened 19 Walmart Express locations in Arkansas (3), North Carolina (14), and Illinois (2).

It also operates three Walmart on Campus 2,500-square-foot, college-based convenience-type stores as part of a separate small-format test. They are located at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arizona State University in Tempe and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

Company executives have repeatedly indicated that they are pleased with the performance of the current small-format tests, and that they are committed to expanding such formats.

Wal-Mart Stores currently operates approximately 3,100 Supercenter locations and about 250 Walmart Neighborhood Markets, along with the Walmart Express and Walmart on Campus outlets.