Walmart Testing New C-store Format

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has opened a new convenience store format in Rogers, Ark., and Crowley, Texas, according to a published report. The concept offers a wider assortment of food and beverages.

The  2,500-square-foot Rogers store, located at the entrance of a Walmart Supercenter, replaces a kiosk at the existing fuel station, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, in Fayetteville, reported. It features grocery staples such as milk, eggs and frozen meals; ready-made sandwiches and salads; a hot-food bar; a walk-in cooler with domestic, imported and craft beer; and a soft-serve ice cream machine. Twelve associates work at the store from 5 a.m. until midnight, but the fuel pumps can be accessed 24 hours a day.

Ramnik Narsey, an SVP for Walmart's U.S. fuel business, told the newspaper that the Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-retailer spent about a year developing the format before building the stores. The goals of the new concept are value and speed, he noted.

Another convenience store format currently being tested by the company is Walmart Pickup and Fuel, with locations in Huntsville, Ala., and Thornton, Colo., where consumers can purchase gasoline, buy common c-store items, and pick up groceries ordered online the same day.

These aren’t Walmart’s first attempts at a convenience store format. Averaging 12,000 square feet, Walmart Express stores debuted in 2011, but the company closed 102 of them across the country in 2016. Walmart has also opened stores ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet on college campuses, although some of them have closed as well.

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