In addition to the Sam’s Club remodeling, Wal-Mart is ramping up expansion in large U.S. cities, such as Chicago, with plans to add smaller-format neighborhood stores offering fresh foods to prop up sagging sales.
During a September analyst conference, Bill Simon, chief executive officer of Wal-Mart’s U.S. operations, said the retailer must be more creative with its store formats as the company expands beyond rural and suburban areas into denser urban markets.
Wal-Mart will have “a healthy mix” of supercenters and smaller stores, including grocery and neighborhood market formats, Simon said.
Fruits, vegetables and other fresh foods are expected to be a key part of the urban expansion.
“The majority of our stores today include a full grocery offering,” Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo said in September. “It’s an area that customers have come to expect from Wal-Mart, and it’s an area where we can save customers a lot of money. In cities across the country, residents want more options for affordable, healthy food, and we want to be part of the solution in as many cases as we can.”
Wal-Mart was expected to provide additional details on its urban expansion plans at the meeting today.