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Walmart unveils new store plans for Chicago

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Walmart will open six new stores in Chicago beginning in the second quarter and extending to spring of 2013. Two locations will debut before the end of this year.

The stores are part of Walmart’s five-year plan called "Chicago Community Investment Partnership," which designed to create some 12,000 jobs and generate as much as $500 million in tax revenue.

CHICAGO — Walmart has revealed further details on its planned store openings in Chicago, which reflect the retailer’s new multiformat strategy.

Walmart has revealed further details on its planned store openings in Chicago, which reflect the retailer’s new multiformat strategy.

The six planned locations will consist of two Supercenters, two Walmart Markets (formerly Neighborhood Markets) and two Walmart Express outlets.

The planned openings represent the initial wave of Walmart’s Chicago Community Investment Partnership, a five-year plan to open several dozen stores, create about 10,000 jobs and 2,000 unionized construction jobs, while generating more than $500 million in sales and property taxes. Charitable partnership worth approximately $20 million are also part of the plan.

"When I met with Walmart last year, I encouraged them to take an approach that addressed the needs of the urban shopper if they truly wanted to make a difference in our underserved neighborhoods," said Mayor Richard Daley at an event held on one of the future store sites. "Today it appears that Walmart has done just that by creating smaller urban store formats that will better serve our communities. I applaud their leadership in creating jobs and providing retail and grocery services in areas of the city that need it most."

Walmart Express is the retailer’s new small format, measuring between 15,000 and 30,000 square feet and offering grocery, limited general merchandise and pharmacy, according to the retailer. The first Walmart Express is slated to open this summer in the West Chatham neighborhood, followed by a Walmart Market that will range between 30,000 and 60,000 square feet in the West Loop. The Walmart Market format is essentially a food/drug combination store that provides a wider assortment of fresh grocery as well as bakery and delicatessan.

Another Walmart Express scheduled to open in the winter of 2012 will serve the West Englewood community, which is described as a food desert and one of Chicago’s most understored neighborhoods. By spring 2012, the area will also have a Walmart Market to serve it.

One Supercenter, in West Chatham, will debut in the spring of 201, followed by another in Pullman in spring 2013.

"Mayor Daley has been a champion of economic development in the city, and his support of Walmart through the years has allowed us the opportunity to do what we do best: open stores that create jobs and offer a broad assortment of products at everyday low prices," said Julie Murphy, senior vice president of Walmart U.S., who is based in Chicago. "Moving forward, we will continue to identify sites in Chicago’s food deserts."

Walmart Express incorporates lessons and insights learned from Walmart International, which operates a number of small formats, particularly in Latin America. The company has developed an even smaller format dubbed Walmart on Campus. The initial unit, at the University of Arkansas, measures 3,300 square feet and contains 2,800 SKUs evenly divided between grocery on one hand and general merchandise and health and beauty aids on the other. It also includes a pharmacy.

Discussing Walmart’s three smaller formats last month at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Consumer Conference, Bill Simon, president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S., said, "We are going to be adding hundreds of these in the coming years and maybe even more, depending on how they work out."


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