Shoppers in Bentonville, Rogers and Springdale will have new shopping venues when new Walmart Neighborhood Markets open in the coming months. The new stores in Rogers and Springdale each will have 41,000 square feet and each will feature a fuel station, said Erica Jones, a Wal-Mart corporate spokeswoman.
There are two stores underway in Bentonville, on the heels of a recent grand opening on Central Avenue. The Bentonville store, under construction on the downtown square, will be smaller and will feature different offerings, such as more convenience foods and “grab and go” lunches or meals, Jones said.
Another Neighborhood Market under construction on North Walton Boulevard in Bentonville along with the new stores near downtown Rogers and near Interstate 49 in Springdale will have the look of the traditional Neighborhood Markets. These stores also feature a small convenience store at the fueling station.
The Rogers store is under construction in the downtown area, on the southwest corner of Eighth and Walnut streets. The first phase of construction has seen the demolition of several buildings in the area. The grading permit was issued Oct. 17. City officials have said they welcome this store to the downtown area amid efforts to transition more urban housing which could benefit from retail shopping options in the vicinity.
Jones said the target opening of the Rogers store will be in the third quarter of this year, between July and September, Jones said.
The Springdale store should open in the second quarter of this year, between April and June, she said. It is under construction on Don Tyson Parkway at the intersection with Interstate 49. Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said he expects it will spur more retail development toward to the city’s western side along the Don Tyson interchange. A new Casey’s General Store (convenience store) has already opened next to the Wal-Mart construction site.
The Bentonville stores are targeted for summer openings, Jones said.
The new stores join a regional network of Neighborhood Markets in Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers, Springdale, Centerton, Farmington, Siloam Springs in Northwest Arkansas along with stores in Fort Smith and Van Buren as well as Noel and Seligman in Missouri.
A typical Walmart Neighborhood Market employs between 80 and 95 full-time and part-time workers and is set up to be pick-up center for online customers choosing the free ship-to-store option for more than 7 million products on Walmart.com. This format has been a shining star in the Walmart U.S. retail fleet. Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran recently said the grocery/hybrid model has posted 50 consecutive months of positive same-store sales. The Neighborhood Market stores returned comp sales of 7.7% in the fourth quarter ending Jan. 31.
Foran said the retailer expects to open between 180 and 200 more Neighborhood Market formats this year, this includes about 10 to 15 of smaller 10,000 square-foot stores in rural outlying areas. He said this would round out the openings of the smallest formats which are still in test mode.
The average building cost of each store is $4.6 million according to local permit values issued by the respective cities. The turn-around time on this format is roughly nine to 10 months once construction begins.