retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, MNB took note of a Financial Times report that Walmart has plans to open one of its new small-format Marketside stores in San Diego – just two mils from a new Tesco small-format Fresh & Easy store in Vista, California.

Now, a subsequent story in FT reports that “Wal-Mart has also leased a 12,000 sq ft space in a new condominium development in downtown San Diego, in a rapidly gentrifying area adjacent to the city’s baseball stadium.”

Until now, Walmart had only confirmed that it was going to open four Marketside stores in the Phoenix area, and the company maintained that it was just a test. But faced with Tesco’s rapidly expanding Fresh & Easy chain, which has more than 70 stores in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada, Walmart may have its own definition of what “test” means.

There is, of course, a subtext to the Marketside entry into San Diego, since it was less than two years ago that the city voted to ban the building of stores larger than 90,000 square feet that use 10 percent of their space to sell groceries – a decision clearly aimed at curbing Walmart’s expansionist impulses.

KC's View:
That is a very cool area of San Diego, and a hotbed of activity. That seems like an excellent location for a small grocery store …