Walmart in line to open 500 Neighborhood Market stores by fiscal 2016

NEW YORK — Walmart will open as many as 115 small-format stores this year, according to Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S.  

Simon discussed the chain’s store portfolio during a presentation at Raymond James Institutional Investors conference. He noted that Walmart’s smaller-format stores (below 60,000 sq. ft.) are making inroads against dollar stores, supermarkets and drug stores and will play a key role in the company's future.  

“They compete really well against multiple channels,” Simon said.

Simon explained that Walmart thinks of its smaller-format units, which include both the Walmart Express and Walmart Neighborhood Market banners, as hybrid stores rather than specific niche competitors.

“They are more hybrid stores than you would think … they all have fresh food and pharmacy and the Walmart everyday low price promise,” he said. “And they are all enabled with.com capabilities, and Site-To-Store capabilities. So you have that endless aisle that we can offer that others might not be able to offer.”

Walmart is particularly bullish on its Neighborhood Market concept, with a direct line to 500 by fiscal 2016, according to Simon.

“This is a great opportunity for us, he said. “Five hundred is by no means the end. It’s merely just the beginning of what we think the opportu