Wal-Mart has moved into the grocery store business with the creation of the latest kind of Wal-Mart, the Neighborhood Market: a typical-sized grocery store with fresh produce, baked goods and other foods, all under the retail giant's low-price slogan. They also carry a variety of packaged deli meats, different kinds of cheese, and seasonings plus the usual grocery store add-ons such as a pharmacy, liquor store, deli, bakery, and photo processing shop. While the Wal-Mart Supercenter contains roughly two dozens aisles of food items, the Neighborhood Market aims to replace your weekly visit to a Winn-Dixie, Goodings, Publix, or other supermarket. The store also pursues the 7-11 crowd, offering a pharmacy drive-through, and a "Grab It and Go" bar with coffee, sodas, pastries, doughnuts and other Kwik-E-Mart style items. The average Neighborhood Market weighs in at approximately 40,000 square feet, much smaller than a Wal-Mart Supercenter (which sizes at around 200,000 square feet).

The Neighborhood Market is a new concept for the Wal-Mart chain, having only been in the works since 1998. The first states to gain the stores are Texas, Florida, and other major metropolitan markets for a total of forty stores across twelve states. The new chain of stores competes with other "little brothers" of large supermarkets, such as the Publix Pix market and Albertson's Express.

The exterior of the store typically sports a dark green coloring (in contrast with the familiar Wal-Mart Blue) and a small sign at the roadside, but the interior is built on a tile-less concrete floor with open black ceilings and boxes stacked warehouse-style. It's part grocery store and part wholesale club. While most communities oppose the arrival of Wal-Mart and the increase crime and traffic problems the stores bring, the Neighborhood Market has so far been welcomed with open arms. It appears that when all is said and done the promise of low prices wins again.


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