Wal-Mart will open the first of a series of Hispanic-focused supermarkets this summer in Arizona and Texas. The first stores, named Supermercado de Walmart, will open in Phoenix and Houston in remodelled locations previously occupied by two of the company’s Neighborhood Market stores.
Wal-Mart said the stores are in ‘strongly Hispanic neighbourhoods’ and will feature a ‘new lay-out, signing and product assortment designed to make them even more relevant to local Hispanic customers’. The staff will be bilingual. The company’s Sam’s Club warehouse store also plans to open a 143,000 sq ft Hispanic-focused store called Más Club in Houston.
Several leading regional US supermarket chains already operate Hispanic store brands, including Publix in Florida, which operates three Publix Sabor markets, and HEB in Texas, which opened a Mi Tienda store in Houston in 2006. The markets include elements such as cafés serving Latino pastries and coffee, and full service meat and fish counters.
Eduardo Castro-Wright, the head of Wal-Mart’s US stores since 2005, raised the idea of turning the Neighbourhood Market into a Hispanic-style bodega concept several years ago. Castro-Wright was previously head of Wal-Mart’s Mexican subsidiary, whose store network ranges from large US-style Supercenters to small local bodegas, an upmarket supermarket chain and two restaurant chains.