Walmart has used its large supercenter format to climb to the top of American retailing, but the chain is looking to its small box concepts (Neighborhood Markets and Walmart Express) to help it reach even greater heights in the years to come.
Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., spoke at the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference yesterday and offered insights into the retailer's recent performance and future plans.
Speaking about Neighborhood Markets, Mr. Simon said the format has produced "consistently strong sales" and that the amount of capital required to roll out the concept has come down as a result of scale and some learning from opening Express stores. He said Walmart plans to go from its current count of "300 plus units" to more than 500 over the next year-and-a-half.
Mr. Simon was very upbeat about the prospects for Walmart Express, the company's hybrid convenience concept with footprints typically between 10,000 and 12,000 square feet.
"Against a dollar store, they have fresh food, pharmacy and gas and perform really, really well and have a pricing advantage. Against drug they have a significant pricing advantage and they have fresh food and gasoline. And then against small grocery stores we have a competitive price advantage," said Mr. Simon.
Which format provides Walmart with the greatest potential for future success?