BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- In 1998, when Wal-Mart Stores here introduced the first store in its Neighborhood Market concept, the industry wondered if the new format would transform the supermarket business as the mass merchandiser's supercenter format has. The concept remains simple: a 40,000- to 50,000-square-foot store offering conventional supermarket fare at Wal-Mart discount prices, inevitably located in a market area served by supercenters as well. Now, five years later, Wal-Mart has 49 ...

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