RetailWire panelists weighed in on the question of whether Walmart should expand its “Express” or “Neighborhood Market” concept faster. I see this as a false choice, since both small-format stores have specific niches to fill and different real estate opportunities:
There is room for both concepts in the Walmart portfolio. The “Neighborhood Market” concept provides viable competition to conventional grocers, without the bells and whistles (and site planning issues) associated with a full-blown supercenter. The “Market” that I shopped most recently was clean, well-organized and well-stocked with fresh meat and produce, in an area somewhat underserved by traditional supermarkets. It’s certainly a viable alternative to Aldi.
Without knowing about sales results or profitability metrics (leases in high-traffic urban locations, etc.), the “Express” idea is just as compelling. If Walmart pursues anything close to a saturation strategy in cities like New York or Chicago, it’s not just the dollar stores who should worry…it’s Walgreens, too.