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    Wal-Mart Set to Open First Marketside Store

    Retailer will compete with Fresh & Easy in Phoenix starting Oct. 4.

    PHOENIX -- In what is being called an industry showdown, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will open its "Marketside" small-scale grocery stores in the Phoenix area on Oct. 4, a move that will place it in direct competition of Tesco, which operates 78 Fresh & Easy locations across Arizona, California and Nevada.

    The 15,000-square-foot Marketside will borrow a retail philosophy from its parent company by offering affordable prices on fresh groceries and prepared foods.

    "Everyone is looking for the answer to the question of ‘What’s for dinner?’" Mike Thomas, store manager at a Marketside in Chandler, Ariz., told Reuters. "We’re providing a meal solution for people on the go, people who want something that’s convenient, fresh and affordable."

    In total, four Marketside locations will open within the coming year. The locations are former drug store properties. Thomas told Reuters that the name Wal-Mart is nowhere to be found on these new stores, and was an intentional decision.

    As of Tuesday, the store was literally under wraps with the windows and doors covered in plastic as final adjustments are made. Wal-Mart officials told Reuters the newly expanded Marketside platform is still considered a pilot program.

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