Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is said to be close to making a move to combat Tesco as the U.K. supermarket giant launches a convenience store chain on the West Coast.
The world's largest retailer will be testing four small-format grocery stores in Arizona this year, according to The Financial Times. The 20,000-square-foot Marketside stores are to launch in the Phoenix area — in Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler and Tempe.
"We trial and test different ways to serve our customers all the time and this smaller neighborhood market is an example of that," a Wal-Mart spokeswoman said.
The Marketside test comes after Tesco opened its first Fresh & Easy stores in Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Las Vegas.
Tesco plans to spend almost $500 million on its U.S. push and increase the number of stores to 150 in the next year.
Wal-Mart chief executive officer Lee Scott has said that Wal-Mart's Asda was outmaneuvered by Tesco's convenience format in the U.K. Wal-Mart acquired Asda in 1999.
Wal-Mart already operates a smaller retail format — neighborhood stores that sell food, pharmaceuticals and hard goods. They are about two or three times the size of a Marketside unit. The company is said to have applied for licenses to sell beer and wine in the Marketside stores.
Mark Lilien, a consultant at the Retail Technology Group, said Wal-Mart should take it slow with Marketside. "Wal-Mart should not let itself be pressured to roll out another significant new format until it knows it to be bulletproof," he said. "If they do a substantial amount of testing, then it might be worthwhile to expand selectively."
Lilien said Marketside could work in rural or urban markets, adding, "One thing, it's a lot easier to find smaller locations than larger locations."
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart on Monday said Vicente Trius, a rising star who headed Wal-Mart Brazil, will take on the new role of ceo of Wal-Mart Asia.
Trius will be responsible for Wal-Mart China, a fast-growing enterprise that is performing ahead of expectations, and Seiyu, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer's troubled Japanese division, which has failed to turn a profit since 2000. He will report to Wal-Mart vice chairman Michael Duke.Hector Nunez, chief operating officer of Wal-Mart Brazil, succeeds Trius as ceo.
The company's partnership with Bharti Enterprises in India also falls under Trius' purview, and will be one of Wal-Mart's major growth opportunities in the next decade. No joint Bharti-Wal-Mart stores have opened. The deal is said to be structured with Wal-Mart providing logistics and distribution expertise to a series of wholesale club franchises Bharti wants to open to service India's mom-and-pop businesses.
Trius will manage 394 stores in Japan and more than 200 stores in China, including 102 held through a minority stake in Chinese retailer Trust Mart.
December sales for Wal-Mart International rose 18.2 percent, to $12 billion.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye