Wal-Mart has opened its first Wal-Mart Express convenience store in an urban location and is reported to be targeting 15 outlets by the end of 2011.
The Chicago site opened on 27 July 2011 and follows the launch of the Wal-Mart Express format in Gentry, Arkansas in June 2011.
According to research company, Planet Retail, the shift in strategy comes at a time when the company’s larger supercenters are underperforming and nearing saturation.
Planet Retail predicts Wal-Mart has one decade of growth left with this format. Instead, Wal-Mart will look to small-box as a means of combating the ever-growing dollar store threat while also penetrating new, lucrative markets in urban areas, it says.
The retailer is pursuing America’s food deserts, where there are plans to open up to 300 stores over the next five years, in a bid to bring affordable food, health care and financial services to consumers in impoverished areas, report researchers.