More and more retailers are seeing sluggish US growth and beginning to tap opportunities in urban markets - markets that have previously gone underserved. Hold your breath...Walmart is now among them. (Wal-Mart to Aggressively Roll Out Smaller Stores). The national retailer seems to "scouring" urban communities looking for spaces of less than 20,000 sf - a far cry from their typical protype of around 150,000 sf. Their recent small prototype is called "Marketside" and includes a focus on fresh food. According to the article, there are now four of these prototypes and they average 15,000 square feet each. It seems Walmart isn't letting "Fresh and Easy" (a 15,000 sf grocery store developed by British-based Tesco, the third largest retailer in world) get away without a run for its money. Another Walmart prototype called "Neighborhood Market" includes a mix of food, pharmacy, beauty, etc. in about 42,000 square feet.
Watch out for more retailers trying to tap underserved urban markets. This Friday Target plans to detail it's own urban strategy...I'll be sure to keep you updated!