Published on: February 12, 2008The Financial Times> reports this morning that Wal-Mart, in a trademark application, has published the logo it plans to use for the new “Marketside” small-store, food-driven format it plans to begin opening this summer in the Phoenix region. According to the FT story, the logo “includes the word ‘marketplace’ in lower case green lettering, adjacent to a stylised pile of pile of fresh food items.”
Expectations are that the new “Marketside” stores will be about 15,000 square feet, about half the size of the 130 Neighborhood Market stores that Wal-Mart has opened around the country, but that never have gotten the kind of broad rollout that many expected. In the Phoenix area, at least some of the stores seem to have been located on sites that will put them in direct competition with Tesco’s new Fresh & Easy small stores.
FT writes: “Wal-Mart has played down the significance of the new format, arguing that the stores represent another variation on its existing neighborhood market format. However, the stores are widely expected in the industry to reflect a new, more focused approach to developing its own private-label fresh and prepared foods, as part of a broad push by Wal-Mart to improve its performance in the grocery business.”
- KC's View:
- Best I can tell, the name “Wal-Mart” isn’t included in the “Marketside” logo … which at the very least would be a marked shift for the world’s largest retailer.
From all reports, the biggest problem that Wal-Mart has had with its Neighborhood Market stores has been ROI…it has been unable to generate the same numbers in those stores than in its Supercenters, which has led the company to focus on the latter format…in part because stock analysts like ROI.
The betting here is that Wal-Mart has figured out the ROI issue with these small stores…and that the battle about to take place between Wal-Mart and Tesco will be a bruising one. Add to that the fact that Safeway is developing its own small store format, slated to be tested in California later this year…and we have the potential for a small revolution taking place in how food retailers sell, and even the way that food shoppers shop.