Dallas Is Wal-Mart’s Promised Land

Feb 03, 2005

By George Anderson

If you’re a Wal-Mart shopper and you’re looking for the closest thing to Wal-Mart heaven on earth, don’t even think about going to Arkansas.

No, the Promised Land for Wal-Mart is in the great state of Texas – in the northern corner to be exact – where shoppers of the Smiley-face variety can find Supercenters, Neighborhood
Markets, Sam’s Clubs and standard Division One discount stores. Oh yes, they can also order online at: www.walmart.com.

Wall-to-wall Wal-Marts have helped the retailer capture 25.1 percent of grocery sales in the area covering Dallas, Plano and Irving, according to Trade Dimensions’ market
data. This figure was up from 22.9 at this time last year. In Fort Worth and Arlington, Wal-Mart’s share of market is 30.5 percent up from 26.4 percent.

Wal-Mart’s rise makes it clear that this corner of Texas has consumers interested in saving money. That fact has not been lost on others as Supervalu has stepped up the rollout
of its Save-A-Lot limited assortment format and Albertsons has converted a number of stores to operate under its Super Saver banner.

Dan Kimack, a spokesperson for Supervalu, said, “We’re convinced the metroplex is a great market for Save-A-Lot.”

Mike Clawson, president of Extreme Inc., Albertsons’ new price format division, told the Dallas Morning News the company has been thrilled with the results of its store
conversions in the area.

Not everyone can be the price king in North Texas, however, and that has left others looking for niches to fill.

Kroger is expanding its Kitchen Place housewares department, which sells gourmet pots and pans, dishes and other items, to all its new stores in the market.

Safeway has begun remodeling some of its Tom Thumb stores with the chain’s new upscale look and offerings that include more prepared foods and gourmet items.

Moderator’s Comment: What is your assessment of what’s going on in the North Texas grocery market? Are you particularly impressed (or not) with some
of the strategies and tactics being employed by specific operators in the market?

Chuck Gilmer, editor of the Shelby Report, said that many of the grocers doing business in North Texas have been spared the full hurt of Wal-Mart’s
growing market position because the entire market is expanding as more people move into the area.

George Anderson – Moderator

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