How Walmart can grow

Walmart always low prices - exterior
Walmart always low prices - exterior

There's a lot of chatter about Walmart's growth plans, with a special focus on the chain's small store formats and urban initiatives. But where will it find the space?

One possibility is through acquisition. Real estate is more of a premium in the denser areas Walmart has designs on, particularly, cities such as New York. Walmart looks to be making a more aggressive push into urban markets, shopping for locations. But in spite of a high commercial vacancy rate, thanks to the recession, getting a large number of 20,000 to 50,000-square-foot stores open in big cities could require something more dramatic.

Drugstores are about that size and the name Rite Aid is being bandied about as a possible acquisition target. There's been speculation about Rite Aid's future before (the chain lost nearly $74 million in its second quarter this year) and that it could be bought. But usually, that speculation swirls around a rival drugstore chain, not Walmart.