July 8, 2013 Updated: July 8, 2013 at 3:25 pm
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to open its third Neighborhood Market in Colorado Springs in mid-August, giving the world's biggest retailer another strategic location as it goes head-to-head with traditional grocery and convenience stores in the Pikes Peak region.
The 41,000-square-foot store is northeast of Union Boulevard and Lelaray Street in central Colorado Springs, north of Union and Palmer Park boulevards.
Wal-Mart's Neighborhood Markets are basically grocery stores that feature full lines of frozen foods, meats and dairy products; fruits and vegetables; prepared foods; health and beauty products; a pharmacy; paper goods; and pet products, among other items.
However, they don't sell clothing, electronics and other items found at their Supercenters, which are roughly five times bigger.
Wal-Mart has touted Neighborhood Markets as convenient places for customers who might want to stop for milk, eggs or other items, but don't want to shop at a Supercenter. The retailer has about 250 Neighborhood Markets around the country.
Colorado Springs-area customers have responded well to the Neighborhood Market concept, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Delia Garcia said.
"Customers who currently shop at the Supercenters appreciate the convenience of the Neighborhood Market," she said. "But we also see new customers coming to the Neighborhood Markets who have not previously been Wal-Mart customers because they appreciate the smaller footprint (of the store) and the convenience that we provide."
Wal-Mart will employ up to 95 full- and part-time workers for its Union Boulevard store, similar to the workforce at its other Neighborhood Markets, Garcia said.
Wal-Mart opened its first Neighborhood Market in August 2012 inside a remodeled King Soopers, northeast of Platte Avenue and Murray Boulevard on the city's east side. The second opened in January in a newly constructed building near South Academy Boulevard and Chelton Road on the city's south side.
Wal-Mart has started remodeling a former Albertsons store northeast of Academy Boulevard and Austin Bluffs Parkway on the northeast side, which will be the retailer's fourth Neighborhood Market in the Springs. That store is expected to open in late 2013, Garcia said.
Garcia had no additional information about whether Wal-Mart will add more Neighborhood Markets in the Springs.
For decades, national and regional grocers such as King Soopers, Safeway and Albertsons dominated the Springs' grocery market.
On the strength of its Supercenters, however, Wal-Mart has soared past such stores to become the No. 1 grocery store in the Pikes Peak region, local retail experts have said.
Its Neighborhood Markets - some of which are going into areas of town that were underserved or abandoned by other grocers - give Wal-Mart more opportunities to dominate the grocery landscape, the experts have said.
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