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Stalled Marketside to Get Boost from Walmart Name

PHOENIX -- Walmart’s four Marketside grocery stores in Arizona have received a subtle—but potentially significant—name change.

The East Valley Tribune reported yesterday the stores are now called "Marketside by Walmart," an apparent attempt to remind consumers of the stores’ connection to its parent company’s value positioning.

The logo, which once appeared to be stacked fruits or vegetables, was also changed in favor of the new Walmart logo, which looks like a yellow sun or star, according to reports.

The stores debuted as simply "Marketside" with great fanfare last year in Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler and Tempe, Ariz. The omission of any reference to the parent company was seen as an effort to distance itself from Walmart’s low price image and be better positioned to attract a more upscale clientele.

Apparently, that strategy went up in smoke when the economy fizzled. CSNews Online reported earlier this week that Walmart has put on hold indefinitely any plans to expand its Marketside concept. At the retailer’s annual meeting last week, vice chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright admitted consumer demand for the convenience/grocery hybrid is not as great as expected and that the company would not be "accelerating the effort until we are in a better position to make a decision."

The news followed the recent announcement by British supermarket powerhouse, Tesco, that it would postpone expansion of its similar convenience/grocery hybrid, called Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, which debuted about a year before Walmart’s.

Like Fresh & Easy, Marketside features a heavy emphasis on convenience, freshness and low prices.

Related News:

Walmart Not Ramping Up Marketside Trial -- June 8, 2009
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