Wal-Mart Makes No Small Plans for New Grocery Chain

Last Updated Aug 11, 2008 5:45 PM EDT

It's somewhat surprising that Wal-Mart's Marketside, its planned chain of small grocery stores, hasn't gotten more coverage.

marketsiteThat could be because, until now, nobody knew just how extensive the retail giant's plans are â€" potentially, at least. The Financial Times reported Thursday that the chain, to launch this fall, could grow to include up to 1,500 stores and $10 billion in annual sales.

Until lately Wal-Mart has described Marketside as a "pilot project." But the Financial Times came upon a job advertisement wherein Wal-Mart told potential employees that Marketside "is expected to start with 10 stores and evolve to between 1,000-1,500 stores with over $10 billion annual sales."

Wal-Mart is planning to open 10 of the 15,000-square-foot stores initially, with at least four of them in the Phoenix area. There, they will compete with the British grocer Tesco's recently launched Fresh & Easy chain.

Wal-Mart is already the largest grocer in the United States, with about 20 percent of the market.

  • Dan Mitchell

    Dan Mitchell has spent the past 20 years writing and editing for newspapers, magazines, and Web publications. Currently, he writes the What's Online column for the Saturday business section of the New York Times. He has also written for the Chicago Tribune, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, National Public Radio, Business 2.0, and Wired.