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Small-Format Stores Will Play 'Integral Role' in Walmart's Future

NEW YORK – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has faith in its smaller Neighborhood Market and Express format stores. The company recently stated it is making inroads against dollar stores, supermarkets and pharmacies -- a strategy that will play an integral role in its future, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

"You'll see us increasingly moving into smaller formats," Bill Simon, head of Walmart's U.S. division, stated March 5 at an industry conference. "They compete really well against multiple channels."

Walmart defines smaller format stores as less than 60,000 square feet. The company plans to open approximately 115 smaller stores this fiscal year, its largest amount yet, in what Simon called a rapid ramp-up.

The smaller stores provide a full array of products and services, including fresh food, general merchandise, pharmacies and online offerings."We can deliver price, an assortment of fresh food and [prescriptions]," Simon said.

Despite the ambitions plans for the smaller format, Walmart stores still run big overall. Approximately 90 percent of Walmart locations are supercenters or large stores. Walmart plans to add about 125 new larger format stores this year, according to Simon.

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