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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart's Stores Inc. is discontinuing its Walmart Express store format.
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Walmart has decided to convert all of its Express stores to mini Neighborhood Markets. As a result, the Express banner will be eliminated, with all new small stores in the future called Neighborhood Markets and the 21 existing Express stores converted to the Neighborhood Market banner in coming months.
According to the news report, Judith McKenna, chief development officer for Wal-Mart U.S., said in an internal company memo last week that "Wal-Mart's research into customers' habits showed that its small Express stores were serving the same purpose as its larger Neighborhood Market stores. … While testing the Express format, the company learned that customers rely mostly on the stores for grocery fill-in trips, last-minute dinners and prescription pickups. It's the same with the Neighborhood Market."
This decision comes seven months after the Bentonville-based retailer announced it was expanding its Express units beyond the initial three-market pilot program, as CSNews Online previously reported.
Walmart debuted its Express format in mid-2011 with the first location opening in rural Gentry, Ark.