| BENTONVILLE, Arkansas, June 5
BENTONVILLE, Arkansas, June 5 Wal-Mart Stores
Inc (WMT.N) said on Friday that it is not accelerating the test
of its convenience-sized grocery stores, called Marketside,
given the economic climate.
"We're pleased with it, but at this point in time given the
current condition in the marketplace, with a significant
reduction in demand ... we are not accelerating that effort
until we have better data to make a decision," Wal-Mart Vice
Chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright told reporters after the
retailer's annual meeting.
In October, Wal-Mart officially opened four Marketside
stores in the Phoenix area. The stores seek to woo shoppers who
are looking for ready-to-eat meals and fresh produce, and might
not have time for a trip to a full-scale grocery store.
Marketside stores are roughly 15,000 square feet, while
Wal-Mart's supercenters average 187,000 square feet.
The Marketside test came after British grocer and rival
Tesco (TSCO.L) opened Fresh & Easy stores in the United States
in late 2007.
Tesco is now making major changes in its Fresh & Easy
stores as analysts worry that the U.S. chain is still searching
for a successful niche.
In what it calls an "evolution," Tesco is putting more
focus on value and adding about 1,000 items to Fresh & Easy
stores' current 3,500-product assortment, which represents
about 10 percent of what a typical U.S. supermarket carries.
(Reporting by Nicole Maestri; Editing by Richard Chang)