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    Wal-Mart Sets Sights on SoCal with Marketside

    New retail format will compete there with Fresh & Easy.

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Industry heavyweight Wal-Mart will soon open its Marketside grocery stores in southern California and Arizona, which mirrors regional expansion from competitor Tesco and its U.S. Fresh & Easy chain, reported The Financial Times.

    Wal-Mart is awaiting approval for its Oceanside location and has applied for a liquor license, reported the paper. Situated in the city limits of San Diego, the proposed store would be less than two miles from a recently opened Tesco Fresh & Easy store.

    The company also leased a 12,000-square-foot space in a new condominium development in downtown San Diego, which is located near the city’s baseball stadium and is said to be going through gentrification.

    While these plans are in early stages, Wal-Mart will open the first four of the new small stores in the suburbs around Phoenix in the coming weeks. The region is also home to a handful of Tesco’s 10,000-square-foot hard-discount Fresh & Easy format, reported The Financial Times.

    Wal-Mart’s plans have not stopped Tesco, which is rapidly expanding. Last week, it opened its 75th store in southern California, and was expected to open three more yesterday. The company plans to build several hundred locations in California, Arizona and Nevada, according to the newspaper report.

    As Wal-Mart seeks approval for proposed locations, the company maintains Marketside is pilot program. However, recent advertisements note that if successful, more than 1,000 stores could be on tap representing $10 billion in sales.

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