FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores said the weak economy is forcing it to take a wait-and-see approach with its experimental Marketside small-format banner.
In a press conference after the company's annual meeting here on Friday, Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman, told reporters that the company was "pleased" with the four-unit Marketside test in the Phoenix area, "but at this point in time given the current condition in the marketplace, with a significant reduction in demand, we are not accelerating that effort until we have better data to make a decision," according to a Reuters report.
The four stores, measuring about 15,000 square feet each, have a more upscale feel than the the chain's supercenters and have a strong focus on prepared and convenience foods.
Separately, in his first annual meeting at chief executive officer, Mike Duke, who succeeded Lee Scott at the Bentonville, Ark.-based company earlier this year, said he believes the recession has instilled a deep-seated frugality among shoppers that will benefit the discount giant.
"I believe the economic crisis has brought a fundamental shift in consumer attitudes and behavior," he said, according to reports. "There is a 'new normal' in which people want to save money and are getting smarter about saving money."
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