Wal-Mart have announced that it is going to test a small-store format named Wal-Mart Express, aimed at the urban and rural areas that lack any nearby grocery stores.
The first store to use the prototype format is scheduled to open next week in Gentry and it is 15 to 20 feet tall and has room for 45 parking spaces, a big departure from the usual Wal-Mart superstore model that has high ceilings and huge parking areas.
Later on this year the company will look to test the express store format with 2 sites in Chicago. By the end of 2011, Wal-Mart will have 15 Express stores across the U.S. according to Anthony Hucker, the company’s VP for strategy and business development. Mr Hucker went onto to say that the express store idea was inspired by Wal-Mart’s small store success in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.
An express store will contain around 15,000 square foot of space in contrast to the normal 100,000 square feet of the superstores.
Wal-Mart already operate smaller stores of 40,000 square feet that it has called neighborhood market stores. Analysts at Janney Capital Markets said in a report just released, “We believe the concept has substantial opportunity to drive incremental sales, the key is finding a model with acceptable returns.”