Walmart is thinking small in a big way. The brand recently announced that they intend to open 100 Neighborhood Market stores in 2013, with plans to open 500 by 2016. It’s clear that Walmart is embracing the “right-sizing” model that so many retailers are moving toward recently, but I also think this is a strategic move for Walmart to increase their market share in the grocery/supermarket sector. In this edition of Retail Rap, I take a closer look at Walmart’s announcement and the implications of this proactive move.
The announcement makes it clear that Walmart’s support for smaller-format concepts—and particularly the Neighborhood Market brand — is growing. Neighborhood Markets have actually been around for some time: the first one opened its doors in 1998. For a brand as large, dynamic and growth-oriented as Walmart, the fact that there are “only” around 200 stores 15 years later represents downright glacial growth. The new plan, for 500 by 2016, represents a big step forward — a sign that Walmart sees this segment of their business as one that’s time has come.
Check out the full article from my recurring column, Retail Rap, at Chain Store Age.