Jonathan Birchall, Financial Times, March 12, 2009
Wal-Mart plans to open its first Hispanic-focused supermarkets this summer in Arizona and Texas as the largest US retailer continues its drive to expand its dominance of the US grocery business.
The pilot stores, named Supermercado de Walmart, will open in Phoenix and Houston in remodelled 39,000 sq ft locations occupied previously by two of Wal-Mart’s Neighborhood Market stores.
The retailer said that the stores were in “strongly Hispanic neighbourhoods” and would feature a “new lay-out, signing and product assortment designed to make them even more relevant to local Hispanic customers”. The staff will also be bilingual.
Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club warehouse store also plans to open a 143,000 sq ft Hispanic-focused store called Más Club in Houston this year.
Several leading regional US supermarket chains already operate Hispanic store brands, including Publix in Florida, which operates three Publix Sabor markets, and HEB in Texas, which opened a Mi Tienda store in Houston in 2006.
Leading retailers are also pursuing Hispanic consumers online, with Best Buy and Home Depot having launched Spanish-language versions of their e-commerce sites in recent months.
Last year, Wal-Mart also began testing four new 10,000 sq ft Marketside convenience grocery stores in the Phoenix area–its first new format in a decade. Tesco, the UK retailer, also has more than 25 of its small Fresh & Easy markets in the Phoenix area.