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Walmart testing small format convenience store

BY Mike Troy

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart this week opened its first small format convenience store branded as Walmart To Go in its hometown of Bentonville.

The concept offers a familiar blend of convenience store products, prepared foods and gasoline and is not to be confused with Walmart’s other small format concept known as Walmart Express. The Express format measures about 15,000-sq.-ft. and also appeals to convenience minded shoppers with gas, a pharmacy and fresh food offerings. The Walmart To Go store bears the same name as a home delivery grocery service the company launched three years ago in San Francisco and expanded to Denver last year.

The Walmart To Go store is located at the heavily trafficked intersection of South Walton Boulevard and S.W. 14th Street less than a half mile south of Walmart’s headquarters. The heavily trafficked intersection is well suited to a convenience store format with easy ingress and egress. However, as retail tests go Walmart won’t get a true read on the viability of the concept until it is exposed to competition in a market where the shopper base is not distorted by those work work for or sell products to Walmart. The proximity to the retailer’s headquarter ensures that a large percentage of those visiting the store will have some type of Walmart affiliation. Also of noted is the fact that the most meaningful competition for Walmart To Go will come from other Walmart formats. A Walmart supercenter with a gas station is located adjacent to Walmart’s headquarters and a 45,000-sq.-ft. Neighborhood Market store, which is also designed to satisfy shoppers’ convenience needs, opened last year and is less than a mile from the new Walmart To Go.

 

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Bi-Lo Holdings to rebrand 17 Sweetbay stores under its Winn-Dixie banner

BY Michael Johnsen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Bi-Lo Holdings, parent company of Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, on Wednesday announced that on March 29 it will begin to rebrand 17 Sweetbay stores throughout much of the Tampa-St. Pete, Largo and Bradenton areas.

“Upon reopening as a Winn-Dixie, we believe customers will be pleasantly surprised to see that we have been working hard to provide the fresh, quality products they want at prices they can afford,” stated Joey Medina, Winn-Dixie’s regional VP. “Plus, we will offer a suite of in-store savings programs, like the fuelperks! Reward Program, which lets customers earn incredible savings at participating Shell stations every time they shop with their Winn-Dixie Customer Reward Card.”

Other savings programs include a $4 and $10 generic prescription savings program, plus discounts on many name-brand medications.

“While the name on the storefronts is changing, the people running them don’t have to," Medina said. "We’ve invited Sweetbay associates to join the Winn-Dixie family and look forward to exchanging what it means to be local as we work together to run even greater stores.”

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Meijer making a push into Wisconsin

BY Michael Johnsen

MADISON, Wis. — Meijer is investing $146 million to purchase and remodel an existing Supervalu facility in Pleasant Prairie for a new distribution center, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced earlier this week. The 770,000-sq.-ft. facility, which will be located in the LakeView Corporate Park, is expected to serve stores in Wisconsin, Illinois and possibly other states.

Meijer is eligible for up to $5.3 million in tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation over the next eight years. The actual amount of the credits will be contingent upon the number of jobs created. The announcement comes one week after company president Hank Meijer said the Michigan-based retailer was planning a major push in Wisconsin.

Meijer currently has plans to open stores in Grafton, Oak Creek, Kenosha, Wauwatosa, Sussex and Waukesha over the next two years.

“This is great news for Kenosha County, which has proven that it is a very attractive area for job creators looking to grow and expand here in Wisconsin,” Walker stated. “We’ll continue to do our part to improve the business climate in the state by cutting taxes, streamlining regulations, and investing in worker training, to keep our positive economic growth heading in the right direction.” 

 

 

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