'Mini' Wal-Mart, coming to a city near you
The strategy is a marked change for the U.S.'s largest retailer, who for many years concentrated on opening giant Supercenters in suburban and rural areas. Wal-Mart isn't releasing the details, but stated in its annual report released last week its U.S. growth will involve new formats.
"Growth in the United States will come from additional penetration into more metropolitan markets, as well as from new formats and stronger integration with the online business," the report states.
This means that if you live in an urban area previously unserved by a mega Wal-Mart, like New York City, a smaller store might be in your future. Some "Neighborhood Market" stores, owned by Wal-Mart, already have drive-thru windows where you can pick up pre-ordered merchandise. These online orders are how a mini-Wal-Mart could stay small but still have a wide range of products available.
Wal-Mart has also has dramatically slowed down building huge stores. The retailer opened only 49 U.S. Supercenters in 2009, down from 132 in 2007, leaving it with around 2,747 giant stores.