Report: Wal-Mart and Target look at small formats for urban push

New York City Smaller formats are key components of both Wal-Mart Stores and Target Corp.’s urban strategies, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Wal-Mart is planning a major push into urban markets with a new small format that is a fraction of the size of its supercenter format, the report said, with the expansion is expected to be detailed in October at the chain’s annual meeting with analysts.

Real estate executives said that over this past summer, the world's largest retailer has been scouring for small locations, around 20,000 sq. ft, in urban areas including New York City, San Francisco and other cities, according to the report.

Speaking at a recent Goldman Sachs retail conference, Bill Simon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart's U.S. business said that "we will have a healthy mix of supercenters and small formats, including our grocery format, Neighborhood Market and smaller formats." He emphasized that the chain is looking to open stores that are similar to the formats in Mexico, Central America, and Latin America.

"We are going to beg, borrow, steal and learn from them as quickly as we can, because it is important for our urban strategy," Simon added.

Target Corp. is expected to discuss its urban strategy on Friday with the media at its headquarters in Minneapolis. Target had told analysts in January that it plans to open in the next few years smaller stores of 60,000 sq. ft. to 100,000 sq. ft. versus its current average of 125,000 sq. ft., the Associated Press reported. But according to real estate executives, including John Bemis, head of Jones Lang LaSalle's retail leasing team, Target also is looking at 20,000-sq.-ft. locations, the report said.

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