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• The Miami Herald reports that Wal-Mart has just opened a new Neighborhood Market in Coral Springs, Florida, as part of a South Florida expansion of the format that began this summer. Another Coral Springs store is slated to open soon, plus “stores are slated to open later this year or early next year in Plantation, Pompano Beach and two more in Palm Beach County. All the Broward stores are in former Winn-Dixie locations, which Wal-Mart acquired during the bankruptcy process. So far, nothing has been announced for a Miami-Dade expansion, but industry experts believe the openings will eventually move south based on real estate availability.”

And, the herald writes, “Wal-Mart has moved slowly at expanding the concept nationally, since opening the first Neighborhood Market in Bentonville, Ark., in 1998. Today there are 125 Neighborhood Markets nationally, including 16 in Florida, and some analysts say the format has struggled to generate the return on investment. The first Florida location opened in Oviedo in 2003. Wal-Mart executives have said they expect to open between 15 and 20 Neighborhood Markets a year.

“John Menzer, vice chairman and chief administrative officer for Wal-Mart, said at a William Blair conference in June that the company has ‘made some changes’ in the Neighborhood Market format, but plans to continue the expansion and is trying to ‘cluster together’ locations.”
KC's View:
The Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market of the future may be different from the versions of the past, but I still think that the format could become an enormous growth engine for the company in places where its name is not anathema and where supercenters have saturated the market.