These Smaller Wal-Mart Stores Could Replace Supercenters

Supercenters are on the decline as shoppers seek out smaller, more convenient stores.

Wal-mart said yesterday that sales at U.S. mega-stores have been falling.

But there’s still a bright spot in its business — the Neighbourhood Market concept.

Sales at the markets were up an impressive 5.6%.

“I think convenience is where the consumers have been looking, [especially] if you look at the Baby Boomers,” Wal-Mart CFO Charles Holley said on a call with reporters Thursday.

Wal-Mart has about 400 Neighbourhood Markets, compared with more than 3,300 Supercenters, notes Kyle Stock at Bloomberg Businessweek. The average store is about 20% the size of a Supercenter.

Big box stores are becoming irrelevant as Americans downsize and purchase big-ticket items like furniture and televisions online.

Wal-Mart’s marketplace concept focuses heavily on fresh produce and groceries. While traditional Wal-Mart stores are situated on large patches of land, the Neighbourhood Markets are primarily in urban areas.

Wal-Mart shared some photos of its new concept. Chances are, one will be coming to a neighbourhood near you in the future.

Here’s a Neighbourhood Market in California. Note how the store closely resembles a Whole Foods Market.

Here’s a more urban location, in Chicago.

The Neighbourhood Market includes ample “healthy” displays.

There’s also an emphasis on local and organic produce.

Wal-Mart is expanding the concept to more markets.

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