Wal-Mart is opening its first-ever Wal-Mart Express next week in a small city in Arkansas, part of a new format of small stores that could ultimately help the retailer break into the New York City market.
According to the New York Times, Wal-Mart is aiming its Express chain — whose branches will contain around 15,000 square feet — at rural and urban areas where grocery stores are relatively scarce.
After opening the prototype in Gentry, two more Express stores will open in Chicago this summer, followed by another dozen nationwide by the end of the year. If the Chicago market proves to be a success, New York City could be next, a Wal-Mart spokesperson said.
Wal-Mart has long been eyeing the city, particularly, a Related Companies superstore site in East New York, and has spent millions on advertising in an attempt to convince New Yorkers that it belongs here, but has met with fierce opposition from labor unions and other big-box retail opponents.
Wal-Mart Express stores will be stocked with between 11,000 and 13,000 items (Wal-Mart’s supercenters stock upwards of 100,000 items), including fresh foods, bedding, greeting cards, office supplies and a pharmacy. [NYT]