BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores here said it has developed a new prototype for its Neighborhood Markets that puts the emphasis on fresh.
The company also said it will open its first Neighborhood Market outside the Arkansas-Texas-Oklahoma area where its first 31 stores are located, with plans to open a store in Memphis, Tenn., later this year.
The first store to feature the company's new prototype is a 40,000-square-foot unit that opened recently in Rogers, Ark., about eight miles east of here. The store's design features fresh departments up front, including a produce section at the center of the store and a service delicatessen and bakery area just to the left of the store's single entrance.
The deli area features many activities, a company spokesman said, including clerks doing meal preparation in full view of customers, plus rotisserie chicken and ribs, and a tortilla machine.
Part of the store's unique design is the arrangement of the grocery aisles, which are slightly angled so all lead into the perishables area, the spokesman told SN. In addition, with the height of the shelving lowered in the pharmacy area, a customer can see all sections of the store at once, he added.
The store features a half-hour photo center just inside the front door that offers to develop film while the customer shops and have it ready when she checks out.
Just to the right of the entrance is a self-service counter where consumers can grab a cup of coffee, soft drink, baked goods or a newspaper to go, with payment on the honor system -- people are asked simply to leave their money in a box on the counter, with no clerk supervision, the spokesman said.
In an effort to keep construction costs to a minimum, Wal-Mart used commercially available materials to build the store, he pointed out, including a bare concrete floor stained red, cinder-block walls painted yellow and a galvanized steel ceiling that's not painted.