NEW YORK — Like a James Bond character who will stop at nothing short of global hegemony, Wal-Mart seemingly wants to rule the world. The $218 billion Bentonville, Ark.-giant has been gobbling up its discount competitors’ market share, launching new businesses in industries outside its traditional realm of expertise and developing a raft of retail concepts that leaves no format unturned.

In addition to SuperCenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Clubs, the company is testing or developing adrive-thru supermarket, a dollar store concept called Hey Buck! and a reinvented convenience store prototype, where apparel could be as much a part of the product mix as soft drinks and chewing gum. Rumors of a department store are also afoot.

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