22 Jan 2015

Walmart Finding Opportunity in ECG Communities

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Since 1998 the world’s largest retailer has diversified its brand with smaller footprint stores that move away from the traditional big box Supercenter to appeal to changing customer expectations and new market opportunities.  Ranging from 12-41,000 square feet and employing around 30-100, the Express and Neighborhood Market grocery concepts serve as lower impact development opportunities for communities, both urban and rural, while also providing the convenience of discount groceries.

Walmart’s smaller concepts entered the Georgia market 3 years ago in the form of a Neighborhood Market in Marietta and continue to identify development opportunities throughout the state. Most recently, Albany and LaGrange worked with Wal-Mart preferred developers to open Neighborhood Market stores, and Ellaville welcomed a new 15,000 square foot Walmart Express in early January. Additionally, developers in Dalton are moving forward on a neighborhood store in an older shopping center scheduled to be open this summer. Each store concept will carry an assortment or full line of groceries, cleaning supplies, health and beauty aids, pharmacy, and most will include a fuel station.

A smaller footprint and diverse range of discount and grocery goods allows Wal-Mart the ability to identify unique retail voids or opportunities in each community, particularly as it relates to underserved urban and rural trade areas with predominantly low to middle income consumers.  With continued expansion plans for the grocery concept across Georgia Walmart’s retail model can serve as a benefit towards neighborhood revitalization and community planning.