Walmart to open smaller neighborhood markets

FRESNO, California

The site being prepared at Willow and Herndon in Northeast Fresno represents a change in strategy for Walmart. A smaller 36-thousand square foot neighborhood market is expected to open here in April. The Walgreen's next door is gearing up for some fierce competition. New signs have gone up urging new customers to come on in.

Fresno State Marketing Professor Bill Rice says Walmart's smaller store is designed for shoppers who want groceries and prescriptions.

"It's called a user friendly small box so they get away from 40 acres," Rice said. "They'll give you a place where you can walk in and buy those more high cycle purchase items so they can buy them and get part of the market because they're losing that part of the market."

Not far away on Herndon, Walmart is building a superstore in Clovis. The company plans to build as many as 115 small format stores during the 2014 fiscal year. They hope the neighborhood stores will better compete with grocery, dollar and drug stores.

"Nobody wants to park in their 600 acre parking lot, go inside their 40 acre building in order to get one item," Rice said. "They're not going to do that. They're saying, hey we need to compete with dollar stores and 7-11."

A smaller scale Walmart store is also being built in Visalia.

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