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    Walmart to Open First Market Store in New England

    The Somerville, Mass. store is expected to be open within a year.

    BOSTON -- Walmart will debut its Market grocery store in New England with a Somerville, Mass. location, according to a Boston.com report.

    The company expects to sign a lease for the store, located at a former Circuit City on Mystic Avenue, in the near future, and it should be open for business in less than a year according to Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo.

    "We think our new store in Somerville can be part of the solution for local customers -- especially the student population -- who want more affordable grocery and pharmacy options in their own neighborhood," said Restivo. "We’ve become more flexible in our approach to urban areas in an effort to ensure that our store size, format and merchandise mix is a proper reflection of the neighborhood where it’s located. Walmart Market fits well into the Somerville community and we look forward to serving local customers soon."

    The location, like other Walmart Market stores, will be smaller than Walmart superstores at approximately 34,000 square feet, closer to the size of a regular mid-size grocery store. Market stores are part of the company's recent focus on penetrating urban markets. New England especially has been targeted as a major focus for expansion, said the report.

    "Grocery retailing is coming around full circle in this area where we went from neighborhood markets to larger grocery stores to superstores to big-box retailers and, ultimately, the Wal-Mart footprint,"’ said Kevin Griffin of Griffin Publishing, which produces industry market analysis, to Boston.com.

    The report also noted that Massachusetts seems to have fewer supermarkets than other states, based on Massachusetts Public Health Association data, but the Somerville location in particular is near several other sizable grocery stores.

    Company officials stated that the size of stores it opens in the future in Massachusetts depends on available real estate. Walmart expects to open as many as 100 Walmart Markets during this fiscal year; currently it operates 183, most of which are in the Southeast part of the U.S.


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