BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here reportedly will open its first two Neighborhood Markets in two Southern California cities next year — Coachella and La Quinta, both in the desert area east of Los Angeles, near Palm Springs. La Quinta was the location of Wal-Mart's first Calfiornia supercenter — one of three supercenters the company operates in the Coachella Valley. Wal-Mart executives declined comment. According to press reports, the Neighborhood Markets will each cover 42,000 square feet. With 31 supercenters in California — short of the 40 it said it was anticipating by last year — Wal-Mart may use the Neighborhood Market format to enter more locations than it was able to with supercenters because of community opposition, observers pointed out.
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