An interesting article appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek this past week about WalMart’s increasing emphasis on smaller stores in urban areas. It turns out that these are the stores showing the most growth in sales.
In the U.S., Wal-Mart’s comparable store sales, an important measure of a retailer’s health, declined 0.6 percent. ….There was one bright spot: Wal-Mart’s smaller stores. ….The smaller locations (which range in size from 15,000 square feet to 39,000 square feet) had positive comparable sales growth and increases in traffic each quarter of 2013. The grocery stores, called Neighborhood Markets, had sales growth of about 4 percent for the year. Trouble is, there aren’t many of them: 346 to be exact, and only 20 of the even smaller Walmart Express stores. …. Wal-Mart is now planning to open between 270 and 300 smaller stores this fiscal year, a big increase from plans revealed back in October to build just 120 to 150 new small stores.
They are behind the curve, however, compared to Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Family Dollar Stores, who together have over 23,000 stores of that size.