Walmart Express makes debut

Gentry, Ark., location opens in time for shareholder's meeting

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — As promised, Walmart unveiled its smaller-format store concept, dubbed Walmart Express, this past week.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, the first store opened in the Gentry, Ark., market just in time for the company's shareholders meeting that was held last Friday morning. Two additional stores, located in Prairie Grove and Gravette, will open as soon as this week.

Walmart Express stores are about 15,000 sq. ft. and no larger than 30,000 sq. ft. and focus on a broad assortment of brands at everyday low prices, selling grocery, pharmacy and limited general merchandise, Walmart previously reported.

The new store is a no frills affair with bare concrete floors and an open rafter ceiling and the merchandise mix is heavily oriented toward food along with an emphasis on Walmart’s Site-to-Store service where it ships merchandise ordered online to stores for free. The jury is out on the format’s potential impact on pharmacy as the location in Gentry, which is about a 30 minute drive southwest of Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, contains a pharmacy but another test location further south in the community of Prairie Grove does not. Both communities are quite small with only a few thousand residents and pharmacy competition limited to independents.

Back in March, Walmart also confirmed that it secured a location for its smaller-format concept in the West Englewood area of Chicago, which is considered to be the heart of the food desert and one of the area's most underserved communities.

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