In an attempt to ease New York into the idea of markets the size of LaGuardia Airport selling everything from fruit to clogs to fishing gear, the Wal-Mart franchise is looking to open quaint shoppes in urban areas—which means the cutest li'l stores you've seen under 20,000 square feet. Real estate broker Faith Consolo says Wal-Mart has been talking to lawyers and brokers about the expansion, which they want to get started on as early as next month. She told AP, "I see this as a smart move, instead of coming into a market as a 900-pound gorilla. They're on an aggressive roll." Where's that Lake of Hellfire we were promised?
Consolo says the big-boxers have been eying lower Manhattan and parts of Queens as good places to experiment in fusing their "Marketside" and "Neighborhood Market by Wal-Mart" stores, which focus on fresh food and pharmacy supplies in spaces from 15,000 to 40,000 square feet. At a meeting with Goldman Sachs, Bill Simon, the new president and CEO of Wal-Mart's U.S. business, said they're looking to open similar stores through Central and South America. He said, "We are going to beg, borrow, steal and learn from them as quickly as we can, because it is important for our urban strategy." We're guessing he meant that to sound like a good thing.
Wal-Mart is also facing competition from Target, which is rumored to announce urban expansion plans on Friday. But they already beat Wal-Mart here, so perhaps the chain will have turn others into the People of Wal-Mart. Jersey?