Chicago Launch Pad for Urban Walmart Store

July 28, 2011

The world’s first Walmart Express in an urban area opened on Wednesday in Chicago.

The store is located on the city’s South Side at 83rd Street and and Stewart Avenue, just off Chatham Market and the Dan Ryan Expressway.

The convenience-sized store offers fresh groceries, dry goods and a pharmacy. At 10,000 square feet, it’s about one-tenth the size of a regular Walmart store.

This new urban setting is an attempt to drum up more business, since the world’s largest retailer has seen its sales figures fall in the last eight quarters.

Walmart Stores Inc. has plans to open three more stores of this nature in Chicago real estate:

*In Wrigleyville: A location at Broadway and Addison is slated to open later this year.

*In West Englewood: An express store at South Western Avenue and West 71st Street is scheduled to open late next year.

*In River North: This one at Chicago Avenue and Franklin Street is planned for 2012.

Besides Chicago, Walmart plans to open more than two dozen Walmart Express stores in Richfield, North Carolina, and Arkansas, where the company is based.

Back home, the company broke ground this week on a new Walmart supercenter in Chatham Market on the South Side. That store will employ about 400 people and will be in the same shopping area as the Walmart Express that opened today.

Last year, Walmart announced plans to create about 10,000 jobs and generate more than $500 million in sales and property taxes around Chicago through new stores within the next five years.

Target Corp. is also trying out the urban store concept and setting up shop in a significant piece of Chicago real estate. CityTarget will open in the Sullivan Center in 2012 and will create about 200 jobs.

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