Retailers, consumers and prices
Wal-Mart Marketside test feels economic hit
Wal-Mart Vice Chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright said the world’s biggest retailer is taking its time testing its convenience store-sized Marketside grocery stores, due to the economy.
“We’re pleased with it, but at this point in time given the current condition in the marketplace … we are not accelerating that effort until we have better data to make a decision,” Castro-Wright told reporters after the retailer’s annual meeting.
In October, Wal-Mart officially opened four Marketside stores in the Phoenix area. The stores cater to shoppers who are looking for ready-to-eat meals and fresh produce, and might not have time for a trip to a full-scale grocery store.
Meanwhile, Tesco – Britain’s largest retailer – has slashed expansion plans for its competing Fresh & Easy stores and the concept is undergoing an “evolution” as the company works to find its sweet spot with U.S. shoppers.
Fresh & Easy’s early plans called for 200 stores in the United States by February 2009. The chain now expects to open its 200th location by November 2010. Fresh & Easy is putting more focus on value and adding about 1,000 items to its small-format Fresh & Easy stores’ current 3,500-product assortment, which represents about 10 percent of what a typical U.S. supermarket carries.
”This isn’t about changing the concept of Fresh & Easy,” Tesco spokesman Jonathan Church said. “What we’ve got to do is fine-tune the model for the customer we have before us today.”
(Photo: Reuters\Jessica Rinaldi; Video\Lisa Baertlein)