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.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews