Bentonville, Ark. – Wal-Mart is piloting a new small format convenience concept called “Walmart To Go.” The first Walmart To Go store has opened in Bentonville, Ark., location of the retailer’s corporate headquarters.
The concept offers a blend of convenience store products, prepared foods and gasoline. Wal-Mart says it is not to be confused with its other small format concept known as Walmart Express. The Express format measures about 15,000-sq.-ft. and also offers gas, a pharmacy and fresh food offerings. The Walmart To Go store bears the same name as a home delivery grocery service the company launched in 2011 in San Francisco and expanded to Denver in 2013.
As retail tests go Walmart won’t get a true read on the viability of the concept until it is exposed to competition in a market where the shopper base is not distorted by those who work for or sell products to Walmart. The proximity to the retailer’s headquarters ensures that a large percentage of those visiting the store will have some type of Walmart affiliation. Also of note is the fact that the most meaningful competition for Walmart To Go will come from other Wal-Mart formats. A Wal-Mart supercenter with a gas station is located adjacent to Wal-Mart’s headquarters and a 45,000-sq.-ft. Neighborhood Market store, which is also designed to satisfy shoppers’ convenience needs, opened last year and is less than a mile from the new Walmart To Go.